Are you stuck in a creative rut? Here are the strategies that I’ve used in the past for shaking off writer’s block and getting those creative juices flowing again:
4 THOUGHTS FROM ME
1. Learn to ignore Writer’s Block, and work with music anyway. Creative droughts happen to all producers, but some producers choose to fight against them and some choose not to produce at all, almost abandoning it, which will only make it harder to come back. In any case, first, take ownership of your creative drought, acknowledge it, and try to understand why it happened to avoid it in the future. Normally, it happens due to long periods of writing inactivity, so make sure to make it a habit to write melodies so you never get into a creative rut, as we’ll explore later. Second, choose to fight against it instead of just waiting for it to come back. Look for and try different strategies to beat writer’s block instead of just waiting for it to disappear. It can still take a long time, but at least you’re taking action, which makes it more likely for you to beat it. Third, commit to writing without expecting anything. For the next few days, weeks, or months, commit to writing anything just for the sake of writing, and detach yourself from the results. Focus on getting into a scenario that is suitable for your creativity to reignite again, and it will eventually come back. Fourth, find other things to do that could get you more prepared for when creativity strikes. Instead of not doing anything, organize your library, learn music theory, learn sound design… do anything that will keep you one step ahead when you feel that your melodies are starting to get better. Lastly, make sure to stay motivated, and that’s why finding other things could be really helpful as they can take your mind away from your “”””failures”””” and make you focus on things that you’re making progress on. In a way, even though you might not be creating good melodies, don’t use it as an excuse not to produce. There’s plenty of stuff that you learn and these could become small wins that can ignite your creative fire again. But now, what can you do to get back on track?
2. Shake up your creative drought by trying new ways and techniques of writing songs. When you’re in a creative drought period, trying to write the same way that you’ve always tried might not work, and shaking up your game can be what will bring you back to writing good melodies. Therefore, you can start by trying these changes to your writing process: (1) Write in a different environment as changing your normal setup might spark some creativity. Try, for example, writing music outdoors, or away from your studio, with your computer and a MIDI keyboard; (2) Start your song from a different starting point than you normally start. For example, if you always start with melodies, try writing a compelling drum groove before, or even if you always start with drop 1, then consider starting with the chord progression of the break, or even the bass progression; (3) Change your default VST for writing. Instead of always starting with a piano, start with a bass, strings, or a pluck, and write an arp before you write the chord progression as this could take you away from your default way of writing and spark some creativity; (4) Change the time of the day that you normally write as this might provoke new feelings and emotions on you that could lead to better writing; (5) Consider making something in another genre as this could put you in ‘learning mode’ and, consequently, away from ‘writing for release mode’, which could lower the pressure and eventually spark some creativity. Essentially, any change in your default way of writing could help you get out of your creative drought and put you back on track.
3. Make ‘writing new melodies’ a habit, and not a once-per-month necessity. Instead of sitting down to write new ideas only when you finish a song, you have to make writing new ideas into a habit so you’re always sharp and ready to create something new. What a lot of producers call ‘Writer’s Block’ could sometimes merely be ‘not writing for a long period of time’ and this, as expected, will make you rusty when you sit down to create something new, and when you add the pressure to write new songs, it can halt your creativity and leave you feeling frustrated, which is when you typically blame it on writer’s block, right? However, instead of just creating when you need to, make it a habit to create at least two new melodies every week. If you do that, by the end of the year, you’ll have 100+ melodies in the bank to write your songs from, and that will lower the pressure of needing to write something good every week because even if you only pick 10% of your ideas, you’ll already have 10 songs to develop. In addition, by making this into a habit, you’re constantly honing your songwriting skills and your creativity, which will lead you to better melodies and, consequently, boost your confidence as a songwriter. Therefore, start writing two melodies every week. It doesn’t matter if they are good or if you’ll develop them into songs… what matters is that this habit will keep your creative juices going and provide a big library of ideas to work from, which will keep writer’s block away!
4. Create a playlist with songs and videos that get you inspired and immerse yourself in it before a writing session. Immersing yourself in songs that you love and that inspire you is an amazing way to reset your mind and motivation to write new melodies, especially when your creative rut has been longer than normal. This is because listening to songs that have inspired you in the past might reignite your creativity and your passion for music, which can give you a boost of confidence to sit and write new songs. Therefore, make sure to do the following things: (1) Make a playlist of songs in the same genre that inspires you and this could help you get in the zone of the vibe you’re trying to make. (2) Make a playlist of songs you love that are not in your genre as these might spark curiosity and energy to try something new in your genre, which could be a way out of writer’s block. (3) Keep a playlist of songs and videos that have inspired you to create in the past as this can trigger the same inspiration that got you started in the past and retrigger your creativity. In essence, these playlists can help you regain your creativity and also keep you motivated and in love with music, which is crucial for you to have the will to fight your creative rut.
1 QUESTION FOR YOU
How else can you write songs when sitting alone with a piano is not working?
1. Go through a sound design tutorial and challenge yourself to write a 4-bar loop with that new synth sound: Go to our Sound Design playlist on YouTube, and start doing some tutorials. After any tutorial, write a 4-bar loop with it without worrying if it sounds good or bad.
2. Use an Acapella song to guide you through your writing: Instead of writing without any inspiration, load an acapella on your DAW and start writing. This could help by already introducing a lead melody into your song, which could lead to writing a chord progression that fits with it. After you have the chord progression, delete the acapella and continue your song.
3. Steal from another song to help find new ideas: If you don’t know what to do next, see what other songs you like are doing and ‘steal’ what they are doing and implement in your song. More on that in this post.