One of the most important questions I get asked as a professional songwriter is “How do I overcome writer’s block. The worst part of the whole writing experience for many writers is just getting started. It’s those times when we sit down to write and nothing comes out that is so frustrating. We feel like we have nothing We say, but it’s all about the creative flow.Here are 9 techniques I’ve used to completely eliminate writer’s block and unlock creativity.
1. Work on composing songs every day.
Songwriting has a lot to do with momentum, flow, and confidence. Therefore, we feel more confident when we do something every day. Get into a creative groove. I have often noticed that after returning from vacation and sitting down to write is the time when I struggle the most. So, I have to get back into that groove.
2. “There is no such thing as writer’s block for writers whose standards are low enough.”
American poet William Stafford gives this advice to writers with Writer’s Block. Although this sounds really bad at first, it is very real. Writer’s block is really that inner critic who tells us “that’s junk” “I can’t write today, I’m not inspired” or “Nothing I write interesting today”. So, when we set the bar too high, it’s impossible to get creative. We must learn to stop this inner criticism and give ourselves room to explore.
3. Always be on the lookout for ideas.
Even if you can’t sit down to write every day, you can carry a small pocket-sized notebook or PDA that you can jot down parts of the conversation you hear. Bits you may later develop into a song. Write this line from the movie you’re watching or the book you’re reading. Voice memos on your phone are used to record the melody. So, by always collecting ideas, you keep your mind in the groove of writing and you will have plenty of ideas to dispense with when you sit down to write.
4. Physical activity.
This is very important! If you get stuck in a line or a tune, take a break and go for a walk around the block. It has been proven in many studies that the human brain not only works better while our bodies are moving. Therefore, we learn and retain knowledge better as well. I have known many writers who walk the earth as they write. Garth Brooks used to keep the tennis ball off the wall, he wrote. (Beware, this may annoy others in the room if you’re co-writing!) The point is, if we sit too long, we’re not going to be creative. So move!
Another trick I use is Go to different sections Song. Have you ever found yourself writing a house to a song and stumbled across that line? Try to skip ahead and write the chorus first and then go back to that line that gave you spells in the first verse. There are no rules for arranging things that need to be written. By writing another part of the song, you give your subconscious mind a chance to work on the problem area as you work on another part of the song.
6. Try this rutted typing-busting exercise…
Set a goal of finishing one song in one hour. regardless!!!! This does wonders for getting you back into your writing groove. And you don’t have time to overthink or guess about whatever comes. You don’t have to bother with quality, although you will often be surprised by the results! The goal here is to put whatever comes to mind and get back into the groove of writing. Remember, it’s an exercise.
7. Be a lifelong learner.
Early in my career, I was ready to co-writing with a Hall of-Fame songwriter. He had to leave our writing session to go to the songwriting class he was attending! I was blown away. He said he never wanted to stop learning. It inspired him to be more creative. I never forgot it and always followed that rhetoric in my writing. Years later, I see him working in songwriting classes I teach in SongTown. Personally, I have always found books to be a great inspiration too. This is a list of my best books.
8. Try to work on more than one song at a time.
Oftentimes, if I get stuck working on a song, I put it down and work on another. Then when I go back to the first song, I had a new perspective as my subconscious mind had time to work on. Oftentimes, I go back to completed songs weeks after I wrote them to see if any changes were needed. It’s all about stepping back and gaining perspective.
9. Suppose you are not writing for a potential audience or publisher…
Write to someone close to you – a mother, a lover or a brother. (Of course, I know that rhyme. But I’m a songwriter!) This can often create a whole new path for your song to take. This also has the added advantage of keeping the message of your song clear and specific.
So here are my nine tips for getting around writer’s block. Try them the next time you get stuck and get back to what you really love to do: write songs!
write on! ~ cm