Songwriting: Fighting Writer’s Block

You’re sitting in your favorite creativity spot, waiting for inspiration to strike, but the only thing that finds its way onto your paper is some doodles and maybe a random line or two of an invisible song. Writer’s block is annoying, and everyone deals with it at least a couple of times in their songwriting career. If you’re stuck with writer’s block, don’t worry – you’ll still be well on your way to writing and selling music online, but the first thing you have to do is fight your writer’s block away. How can you do this? Here are some of our favorite tips.

1. Accept it. Sitting in front of your computer or paper and agonizing over your lack of productivity isn’t going to get you anywhere. The first step in working through your writer’s block is acknowledging that you’re experiencing it. Sometimes, the best way to start being productive is to take a break and step away from your song for a few hours, or a day, or even a week. In the meantime, you can move onto finding your creativity again.

2. Walk. Go for a run. Read a book. Listen to your favorite bands or other things you’ve been working on. Getting away from songwriting and immersing yourself in something unrelated is a great way to let your mind recharge after a stint with writer’s block.

3. Freewrite. When you’re ready to get back into something creative, consider freewriting. If you’ve done this common writing exercise before, you’re well aware of how fun and effective it can be. Freewriting basically involves your mind and your computer, or a pen and paper. Make yourself comfortable and then write whatever comes to mind, whether it’s song-related or not. As you write, try to avoid stopping; just let your mind keep on going, even if you start writing about something like your grocery list or how your day went. This exercise is a favorite among many people because it helps to let your constraints loose and let the language flow. Songwriting should be something enjoyable, and freewriting is a great way to get back into that mentality.

4. Write. Transition from your freewriting and into a songwriting mindset, starting one line at a time. Write down lines that appeal to you, or any phrase that might sound cool, and when you find something that you think you can work with, go with it!

Everyone writes differently. Obviously, our tips are just suggestions to help you get back on track so you can start selling music online – after all, nobody wants to deal with writer’s block! What are some of your favorite ways to combat writer’s block? How do you get your focus back on to writing songs and selling music online? Tell us all about it in the comments!

One Comments

  • Stoneman 21 / 11 / 2011 Reply

    I hear people talk about writers block often. But I have never really had writers block. Actually, I always have a backlog of songs waiting to be worked on. I believe that as a songwriter you must become a good observer of all things around you. If you do that you will find a wealth of material to draw from.

    One of my keys to having a backlog of material is that I carry a hand held voice recorder (dictation device) with me every where I go. When I get an idea, melody or lyric I simply turn it on and record the idea. For me, ideas come in many ways. Sometimes I am having a conversation with a friend or family member and they say something that sounds like a song lyric to me. Other times I am in the shower and start to hum a tune. As soon as I get out of the shower I hum the tune into my recorder for future consideration. I even keep the recorder next to my night stand as I often dream songs. When I wake up I just roll over and hum the song into the recorder. Otherwise it will be lost forever if I go back to sleep. Then, there are times when I start with a single word and build an entire song around that word. I like to do creative stimulation excises like looking at a random person and then writing a story about what I think their life might be about. Then, I later convert that into a song. I also think of memorable things that have happened to me, around me or to people I know. Sometimes I write songs in conversational mode. Like I am talking to a person about something. There are so many ways to keep the material coming. In my opinion a songwriter should never have writers block.

    To date I have won 36 music industry awards in 12 music genres for songs I have written. My entire life revolves around writing songs. When I don’t have an idea in my head I always have about 20 recorded already. Then there are those days that I just sit down and create full music tracks in my studio without vocals. Later on I will come back and compose vocals that I feel correlate with the tracks. Currently I have seven complete music tracks waiting for lyrics and vocals in my studio. Of course it helps to be a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist like me, but anyone who writes songs can be as overwhelmed with material like I am if they become a good observer of all that is happening around them. Notice the guy in the wheel chair. War veteran? The squirrel in the tree. Jewelry thief? The homeless man, the school children, the truck drivers, the police, local events, world events, personal events. It is all potential material. Don’t expect every song to be some prolific statement. Some songs are just for the fun of writing or to dance to. Others are to get people to think about important issues. Life is full of so many moods and transitions. Go with it and it will go with you. Just write!

    All I am saying is that by utilizing many different modes of creating material you should never ever have writers block. Instead, you should be cramming to find time to produce all the ideas you have on backlog. Another thing that I am against is limiting yourself to one genre or style. It is all music to me and I love writing and producing everything except classical and country. But Jazz, Reggae, Rock, Pop, Gospel, Soul, Hip-Hop, Rap, Ska etc. etc. etc is all open to my own creative interpretation. When you open yourself to all that music has to offer, you find that there is no limit to what you can do creatively.

    Much Respect,

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