Running into dead-ends in your songwriting practice is inevitable – it could hit you at any stage of your journey. As creators, we can embrace that uncertainty or turn away from it. The former, however, may lead to unexpected inspiration and creativity. Try one of these strategies whenever you’re stuck with your projects.
Turning frustration into opportunity
So many things are out of our control as songwriters. However, it’s up to a conscious decision to work through musical dead-ends and use them to your advantage. Say you’ve written a verse you love, but can’t seem to follow up with materials that match its energy and potential. Dig deeper into your creative process to find solutions, or try to gain insights into why your methods aren’t working. Either way, every dead end can be turned into an opportunity that helps you as a songwriter – whether to learn something new or find innovative ways out of a tough spot. Approaching difficult situations with a mindset of finding the silver lining will help you thrive in every aspect of your career.
Finding multiple ways to approach one problem
Ever got stuck on an idea and just can’t seem to move forward? Try developing different solutions by approaching the problem from different angles. Maybe the chord progressions you’re considering are strong, but the melodies need a revamp. Perhaps the key doesn’t fit your voice and needs to be moved down? Could the problem not lie with the new sections you’re written, but within the original idea? By looking at the issue with a different mindset, you may be able to garner different perspectives to tackle the problem!
Developing creative resilience
It takes time and energy to explore different solutions to the same problem, but often that’s how great music gets made. Occasionally, you may get lucky and stumble upon song ideas that sound amazing and are easily and quickly formed. But expecting such creative luck throughout your practice will keep you from writing your best music. Encountering problems in your practice is inevitable, so it’s best to get comfortable with them. Trying to find solutions or learning from your experiences develops your resilience in music, which is crucial for developing your career and creation over the long-term. Making music is not easy, and why should it be? A song that’s truly special takes a great deal of work to create.
If you find yourself stuck on the same problem for weeks, it’s probably better to step away for a while than to keep going. Your mind and ears will get tired eventually, and taking a break will provide you with a fresh creative perspective. Inevitably, you’ll run into great song ideas that never get finished for one reason or another. There’s nothing wrong with that so long as you’re paying attention and learning each time you create!