Beat Writer’s Block!

If you’re a songwriter, you’ve probably had times where it felt like words and inspiration just flowed out of you and onto the page. And, other times I’m sure you’ve felt the exact opposite, when you desperately want to write, but . . . nothing. 

Don’t let this hold you back from creating new music, though. Here are some ways to crush writer’s block and find your voice.

  1. Practice sense writing; Pick an object, place, or person and describe it with all of your senses. Don’t hold back, just write everything that comes to mind for a few minutes. This “thing” doesn’t have to become the topic of a song, but after your free write, hopefully a line or two, or even just an idea, has been generated that you can translate into the start of a song. 
  1. Try a new perspective. If you always write about yourself or your own experiences, think of a friend or a fictional character that might be going through something you never have, and see if you can write from their perspective. An example is one of Taylor Swift’s new hits, “Betty”, which is from the perspective of a teenage boy with his first broken heart. 
  1. Start with titles, some writers always start this way. Start listing interesting titles of songs that you’d want to put out. When something sparks an idea, keep going with it.  Even if the title ends up totally changing, it got the idea moving. 
  1. Go back to your song graveyard. You probably have at least a few, if not a few hundred, unfinished songs or forgotten ideas laying around. Start looking through them, even go years back if needed, and look for a line, melody, or an idea that still strikes you. Go over it again and see if you have a new perspective to finish it, or make an entirely new song from it. Don’t have an idea/lyric journal yet? Then, start one. You’ll always have a bank of ideas to draw from. 
  1. Try something ridiculous, like Tom Waits’ technique —  turning on multiple radios at once and listening. He would tune in for interesting overlaps in the noise and anything that stood out, then use that idea for his own writing. This one might only work for Tom Waits, but it’s sure to produce something totally unique. Or, maybe, try scribbling in a beat on the piano roll of your music software, or any way to generate something random, and see if there’s any sounds you can pull out to turn into actual music.

As many industry professionals have stated, to be successful, a songwriter should write at least 5 new songs a week, good or bad. It’s the practice of doing! 

Inspiration is a fleeting thing, but you don’t need to wait around for whenever it wants to strike. Part of the work of a musician is to put in time to rewrite and brainstorm to take those random creative moments and mold them into finished products.  Don’t make excuses for your writer’s block anymore!

Source; Seydel, Rory. “13 Ridiculous Songwriting Tips That Actually Work”. 2019.

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