Songwriters Block: Creative Tricks To Beat the Blank Page

//Songwriters Block: Creative Tricks To Beat the Blank Page

Songwriters block sucks.

Being stuck in a rut sucks.

It’s bad for the ego, bad for your confidence, bad for the enjoyment of life in general.

So how do you break free from that particular type of slump?

Songwriters block - bored

Here are 5 creative tricks that work for me…..

1- The “Draft” Mindset that Kills Songwriters Block

What is this?

The “draft” mindset technique consists in you telling yourself that, for a set period of time, you’re working on drafts only.

It means making a clear distinction between the creative phase of a project and the later phases of a project like mixing, mastering, distribution, marketing and sales.

When should you try this?

This exercise is perfect if you’ve made it a habit to compare your burgeoning projects to the stuff you hear on the radio.

Why does it work?

The “draft” mindset works because it reminds you to forget about editing while you’re still in the creative phase of your project.

It’s a technique that gives you permission, for a set period of time, to be as crappy as you need to be.

Unless you’re on a deadline, 30 days is a nice place to start.

2- Practicing A Different Art Form

What is this?

Practicing a different art form means exactly that.

If you’re trying to get out of a musical rut, that could mean doodling, painting, writing short stories, recording time-lapses, building a little video game, or whatever floats your boat.

Quick side note here: you don’t need to be good at ANY of this, you’re not trying to acquire professional skills here…… In fact, you don’t even have to tell anyone you’re doing this. 

When should you try this?

Practicing a different art form can be very liberating when you’re running out of musical ideas for your compositions.

If you have the feeling you’ve been writing the same track over and over again.

Why does it work?

Practicing an art form that you’re not SUPPOSED to be good at, takes the pressure off.

It allows you to be creative and explore ideas with more freedom, without any expectation of quality or….. creativity serial killer perfection.

3- Watching a documentary on an obscure subject

What is this?

This means sitting down and watching a full TV show or documentary about something you know nothing about.

Of course, it’s better if you don’t fall asleep 5 minutes in but the point is not to deepen your knowledge of existing interests but to widen your map of the world, give your mind new places to explore.

When should you try this?

If you’re feeling jaded and generally uninterested.

Watching a documentary about some weird, unknown culture far away from home or far removed in History can be both eye-opening and inspiring.

Added bonus: the images are very often beautiful and inspiring on their own. Great canvas to spark a musical idea.

Why does it work?

Learning about something new is good for your creativity in two main ways.

One immediate and obvious benefit is that it gives you something new to write about.

A second huuuuge upside of learning new things is that it feeds your brain.

You know, that place between your ears from where everything you create originates…..  😉

The benefit may not be immediately evident but, in the long run, it will make your creative muscle stronger and stronger.

Think of it as planting a creative seed. It might take a while before you reap the harvest but it’ll put food on the table down the line.

4- Write in a completely different genre

What is this?

Writing long ambient instrumentals comes easily to you? Why don’t you try your hand at hip-hop?

Have plenty of corporate inspirational happy clappy tracks up your sleeve? Why don’t you try writing a couple of trailer music tracks?

When should you try this?

Feeling bored because you’ve been writing the same track over and over again? Feeling bad about yourself because you’re struggling to reach the next level?

Writing in a completely different genre to your usual style can be VERY effective.

Why does it work?

As you know, songwriters block tends to creep in when you’re putting a lot of pressure on yourself to create the “perfect” song (whatever that means….)

Remember, even Mozart and Bowie wrote shitty tunes from time to time! 😉

When you write in a genre that’s not your style, you take away some of that pressure.

In fact, you can even parody a genre you don’t like and have even more fun with this!

5- Score an image

What is this?

You pick an image, any image, and use it as inspiration to write music and/or lyrics.

The image could be a photograph, a painting or you could even pretend you’re working on a film and score a scene.

When should you try this?

If you’re stuck big big time, this will usually do the trick.

By the way, this works better if you don’t start JUDGING whether the music “fits” the image or not. Remember the point of the exercise is to get you out of a musical rut. It is NOT meant to have you focus on the end product. 

Why does it work?

The visual gives you a starting point, triggers the imagination.

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2018-12-13T16:53:21+00:00

2 Comments

  1. Dan November 30, 2018 at 6:38 am - Reply

    Joyce, once again you create an inspiring nudge for us! Thank you for your spirit! All your points can reasonably be used. Thank you!

    • Joyce Kettering November 30, 2018 at 1:11 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Dan. I appreciate the kind words 🙂 Now go make some music! :))) I’ll be here if you want to share your work….

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