We have all been there before.
We’ve opened up our DAW’s, ready to write the next big hit only to stare at a blank screen and save nothing. Writer’s block can be tough to deal with. You can begin to doubt yourself as an artist, become irritated, and lose motivation to work on music. Not being able to start a song or continue with a song that you have been working on is inevitable though. Even the most accomplished artists experience writer’s block from time to time. There are, however, a few tried and tested ways to help you break out of writer’s block quicker and get you back into the creative zone.
Below is a list of several ways to help combat the dreaded writer’s block.
You have probably heard that exercise is a great way to beat writer’s block before, but have you ever tried it? Exercising creates a physiological change in our bodies. Among many other changes in our body, our mental state is altered. At its core, writer’s block is simply a mental hurdle that we cannot seem to jump over. We know that we are capable of writing a melody for that song but just can’t seem to get that idea out into the DAW. Once you exercise, your mental state has completely changed and approaching your project or start of a new project with this altered mental state is much more conducive to creativity. Any type of exercising will work here. You can try running, swimming, weightlifting, or any physical activity that you enjoy doing to create this physiological change. This may be the most simple tip, but it is the most effective.
Use new instruments
Using a new synth, virtual instrument, or real instrument is an effective way to spark creativity. With new instruments come new unexplored sounds that trigger ideas quicker than the instruments that you use regularly. By doing a quick google search, you can find plenty of free synths and virtual instruments to add to your productions, so spending money is not necessary. If you are looking to use a new instrument, there are also plenty of sites where you can purchase second-hand instruments for a very small price. One way to stay in a creative mindset from track-to-track is to use a new instrument in every song that you work on. Don’t wait until you get into a creative rut before you look to find a new instrument to add. Just get in the habit of adding one new instrument to every song you work on and you will be able to fight off writer’s block for as long as possible.
Distractions can be a creativity killer. These distractions come in all different forms. Phone calls, social media, outside noises, and the list goes on. Here are a few ways that you can avoid distractions to stay in the creative zone and avoid writer’s block.
Disconnect your computer from the internet
The internet is one of the leading causes of writer’s block. With the world wide web at your fingertips, anything is searchable and you can always find a way to keep yourself distracted. When you start your production session, turn off the wi-fi and leave it off until you are done with the session. You will be surprised at how effective this tip is.
Turn off your phone
We all get texts, phone calls, and check social media on our phone. This is just another distraction that will keep you from putting your best efforts into your productions.
Set a designated time to produce
Set aside time each day in your schedule to produce. Pick a time where you know you will not be disturbed and a time that you know you can focus on only producing. This designated time allows you to be carefree and not worry about anything else but creating the best possible track.
Experimenting with new genres is a surefire way to generate creativity. This tip is similar to the second tip of using new instruments as you are trying out new sounds, but you will also be trying out new arrangements and mixing techniques when working in new genres. Creative ruts often stem from repetition and familiarity. Using the same synths, writing the same style chord progressions, and using the same mixing techniques can all lead to creative blocks. Working with new genres forces you to step outside your comfort zone and make music that you are not familiar with creating.
We all experience writer’s block at one point or another as artists. There is no reason to be discouraged by an unproductive studio session or the current lack of musical ideas. By applying any of the four tips above or any combination of the four tips you will be able to break out of this creative rut faster and with more confidence.
Daniel is a caffeine-dependent entrepreneur, music producer, sound design junkie, and world traveler crazy about teaching modern electronic music production through his site SoundShock.