Ideas for Overcoming Writers Block
Hi.. I'm not a serious producer or dj but I dabble in music production on and off.. Right now I have a serious case of writers block and also I'm pretty lazy when it comes to promoting anything... anyone have any ideas of how to overcome this?
Thanks for any help - Layta
(DJ's On MySpace
I think it is normal for most creative people to suffer writers block from time to time, after all creativity takes up so much energy that you would expect to run out of juice after working on a project for some time. There is also the issue of motivation, because without this creativity becomes very hard work, you are just relying on will power alone, or you just stop.
If this is the case for you just accept it and recognise that you need time to recharge your mind, and that given time the urge to create will return. So, stop trying to do whatever you think you should be doing and instead focus on something new but possibly connected with writing music. For example I often have weeks off when I tidy up the studio, clean the gear, organise files, get in contact with collaborators, read manuals for new software and find new samples & ideas. None of this is really creative, but it is worth doing as it all feeds into the writing process, making it easier and more fluid. By doing these mundane tasks you make sure all your writers tools are ready to go when the creativity finally begins to flow - there is nothing more annoying than having to stop all the time to find a sample or read up on using some new piece of gear.
If you are suffering from really severe writers block then it's time to *turn off* the computer, draw back the curtains and do something in the real world, preferably physical. Go visit friends or the countryside, do some gardening, cooking or some sport, read an inspiring book or check out some art, find some peace and quiet for your mind or just tidy up the house - You will soon find the urge to make something coming back.
These are just what works for me (other suggestions welcome!), but I would not recommend anything that stresses your brain like TV, alcohol or drugs.
It may be that you are just doing too much music I which case you need to do something non musical for several weeks or months, a change of scenery, lifestyle or routine can help your mind out of the rut and stimulate new ways of thinking.
It is also worth considering if there are issues in your personal life that are blocking creativity, and if so you need to try to neutralise their influence. I know that when I am stressing about money or family or have an interview I will probably not be on top form, so I try not to be creative until it passes.
All the above are of course non-musical suggestions for dealing with a creative blockage, but here are a few ideas if you are just temporarily stuck for ideas or direction:
1: Firstly, just listen to some new music instead of your own. Maybe find something off the beaten track that is not in your usual style. I find Jazz, World music, stuff from the internet or oddities from car-boot sales can get me thinking again. Again, get your brain out of the rut of the same old ideas going round and round.
Next up, and this is pure heresy to many, try copying one of your favourite songs. You must chose something that is within your range of abilities, but that you really like and respect as a piece of music. Analyse the track a bar at a time (by synchronising it with a sequencer), identify the sounds, rhythms, chords and melodies and then try to recreate these yourself as closely as possible. Then try changing it around adding your own new ideas and styles to make it your own.
Lastly, and this I think is hardest, just sit there and doodle for ages putting down whatever comes into your head. Just get an inspiring sound and hit record, don't try to be too critical or to stop and edit, just play whatever comes into your head. Try not to use to many of your 'old favourites' for ideas, but if you do try to develop them into something new. Reverse them, transpose them, swap them around or just randomise the elements. Oh, and don't forget the all important tea break to give your ears a rest and your brain time to re-energize.
Once you have finished go back and listen to the whole recording and edit out and mark any promising ideas for development and delete the rest - and don't forget to make a back-up copy, yikes!
And if none of the above work, how about a collaboration with a musician who is on your wavelength. A word of caution though - make sure this person is reasonably committed to finishing projects and works the same hours as you do. Invite heavy alcohol and drug users at your peril!
None of the above is guaranteed to make you a hit song, that takes real perseverance, but these ideas should help you to get back on the creative bandwagon and give you confidence in your abilities.
I believe that everyone has creative potential, but what makes the difference is your determination to make great art and to show it to the world.
Any thoughts, ideas or comments welcome below.
P.S. Sorry for the long post, but just a few thoughts about promotion. I really do find this challenging, it's not something I am naturally suited to but we all have to do it if we want people to be aware of our music. Firstly you do have to believe in what you are doing and be fairly certain that others share your belief. Make sure your product is as polished and professional as you can make it. Good artwork and videos are essential here and a partnership with an aspiring graphic/video designer would be a good move. Make your music available on all formats if you can, and easy to purchase- the Payloadz.com system works well. From then on it's a matter of going out there and pushing your product onto a very crowded marketplace. What with the internet and globalisation there are more listeners out there than ever before, but also more bands. Use Myspace and all its cousins to there maximum potential - make your page exciting with fresh, relevant and up-to-date content that draws people in - hey, it's fun! Then go out and politely invite others to view your website and to tell others. With any luck some of them will actually be interested in what you are doing. But it isn't easy standing out in the crowd, its d*mn*d hard work.
And I haven't even mentioned live events, merchandising, press and sponsorship, so if there is anyone out there who can help with this please write in or comment below.
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