Writing music can be an emotional roller coaster. One day, you’re writing for hours and hours with no end in sight, completely happy with every sound you are putting together. The next day, you are completely stumped. You can’t put your thoughts together and you feel unhappy with everything you are writing. It almost feels like you are forcing yourself to produce, and you know it isn’t your best work. So, what can we do when we are stuck on what to write? Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to overcome writer’s block.
OVERCOME WRITERS BLOCK Step One: Take a Break
Taking a break will not only give you a break from your frustration, but it will also give you some time to think things over more practically. Coming from personal experience, I know how hard it can be to leave the writing process and take a break. You want to write something good to make you feel better. All you need is the first idea to get your creative juices flowing, so you don’t want to stop.
Trust me – nothing good is going to come from forcing your creativity. You’re only going to frustrate yourself even further. Taking a break is essential for clearing your mind and getting your thoughts in order. Having a rested mind will allow you to think clearly and practically, rather than emotionally (leading to further frustration).
Step Two: Learn Something New
This is one of my favourite things to do when I’m feeling blocked. When you feel like your creativity has hit a wall, why not focus your energy on learning something new. Watch a YouTube video, check out some blogs, take a free production course, open a new synth or effect – the list goes on. You can never learn enough! Perhaps something you learn can instantly be applied to your work and jump-start your creativity. Instead of forcing yourself to write something that isn’t coming naturally, do something productive. Take the energy that would have been put into writing music into learning a new skill. This way, you are still being productive and won’t feel so guilty about not writing. This brings me to my next point:
Step Three: Organize
If writing music isn’t working for you right now, the worst thing you can do is force it. Instead of forcing music that will not be your best work, take this time and do something equally as productive with it. Use this time and start to organize your DAW, organize your synths, your presets or your samples. Better yet, clean your studio (or your body if you’ve been in there for a while). You might discover some old or new presets or samples that could boost your creativity simply by hearing them. Worst case scenario, you’ve helped your future self by cleaning and organizing your workspace, which can help boost creativity down the road. De-cluttering always makes you feel better and puts you in a better headspace.
Step Four: Try Using Stems
Another way to overcome writer’s block is to grab a free (and royalty-free) acapella off the internet and try working with it. Or, find a remix competition or some remix stems and download those. Now you have some new stems to start playing around with, and this may inspire you to create something new. If you have some past projects, perhaps you can create your own stems and manipulate them to sound unique. This can really help get your creativity flowing by utilizing other ideas than your own. It may just be the kickstart needed to get you back in the writing zone.
Step Five: Listen to Your Favourite Music
The thing that helps me the most when I’m feeling blocked is listening to my favorite music. I check Beatport and Spotify for the newest tracks by my favorite artists, and this is always a huge motivator for me. Hearing new music motivates me because it starts to get my creative gears moving. Even if I don’t intend on it, I can’t help but get an itch to write music after hearing new tracks. Hearing new music pushes me by introducing me to new ideas that I hadn’t heard before, and that inspires me to try and replicate or create my own new ideas.
So there you have it! Five easy ways you can clear your head, use your time productively, and overcome writer’s block. Remember, if the ideas aren’t coming naturally, don’t force yourself to write! Step away from your DAW, listen to some new music, learn something new, or go take a walk! You will feel much better, and your music will thank you in the long run.