The blank page, the blinking cursor, the silent keys and strings, and that sense of absolute emptiness that gives way to frustration and desperation. Even the best writers know it well. There’s nothing worse than trying to fill your own giant shoes when all you can think of is rhyming love with heaven above. Wings of a….dove?
Writer’s block sucks.
But you can get through it. You don’t have a choice. Let writer’s block get under your skin, and you’ll find that the only things you’re writing are excuses. You’ll procrastinate. You’ll sit around waiting for inspiration to strike. It won’t. Maybe you’ll write a bunch of first verses that never become songs. You’ll beat yourself up over all the writing you don’t do.
Know the feeling? Don’t sweat it. We all have days when a good song is hard to come by. If you’ve been trying to get your mojo back for too long, you know that there’s no shortage of advice out there for struggling writers. The problem is that most people fixate on what to write when we really just need to remember how to write.
Here are five ways to change it up that you probably haven’t tried yet.
Write Something Other Than a Song
Remind your brain that you are a creative genius. Put pen to paper and write something for the pleasure of it. To-do lists and texts do not count. Try a short story or a silly poem. Write it down, edit it and really finish it. What you’re after here is a sense of accomplishment. At the end of the day you aren’t just a writer, you’re a prolific writer. Ideas are pouring out of you. Writing is easy, natural and habitual.
Do you write at the computer? Capture ideas on your phone? Spend too much time in your windowless basement studio? Try a total change of scenery. Computers are amazing tools, but they are absolutely not windows to the world. Have you ever been guilty of writing a song while texting, or scrolling through Facebook or….going out on a limb here….reading an article about songwriting – like this one? Unplug. Go outside. Do it now. This post will be here when you get back.
Indulge in Simple Pleasures
When you’re feeling uninspired, resist the urge to write from a place of boredom. Figure out what makes you happy and do that instead. For me, reading a novel is a great way to unwind, and helps me to remember that the world is much bigger than my little bubble. TV, in the other hand, is noisy and distracting. Figure out your own balance. I love to get outside in nature, but yard work tends to fill my mind up with to-do list items, which can be a writing killer, so I steer clear of chores when I’m looking for a creative boost.
Get Your Blood Pumping
Indoors or out, a little exercise goes a long way! Choose a rhythmic activity. For me, hiking, biking and paddling all work wonders. As the funk clears out of my brain, my mind starts to latch on to snippets of lyrics. I mentally work out song ideas to the steady beat of the exercise. Try it! The best part is that you’ll benefit from the activity even if you don’t write a song. Creative geniuses need to take care of themselves.
Write Like It’s Your Job
The world needs your songs. So why are you writing at the worst times of day, when you’re mentally exhausted? If you’re holding down a day job, don’t wait until some magical future day when you suddenly have enough time. That day is not coming! If you’re a full-time musician, you know how easy it is to get wrapped up in the constant emails and phone calls. Everyone needs to hear from you right now, and you’re the only person who can approve the tour dates, order new merch, preview the video, get the van inspected, and on and on and on. There goes your day. Touring is even busier. What to do? Write like it’s your job. Grab whatever time you can. One whole day is ideal, but if you’ve only got a morning, or three hours on a Friday, just do it! Get a fresh pencil and some paper, sit down with your instrument, and go to work.
Hey, we all know writer’s block happens. Just remember, you must get through it, and the sooner the better! Did you try any of these brain hacks? Did you end up with any amazing songs? Let us know! Remember, you are a creative genius and the world is waiting to hear your songs!