Every songwriter experiences it at one point or the other in their careers – even the best ones. I have never come across a single songwriter who just flows on and on all year long and gets creative with lyrics, rhythm, harmony, melody and what have you. Never have I ever!??♀️ What is writer’s block? It’s that phase or stage of emptiness or blankness where your creative cap doesn’t just want to fit!? You sit there expressionless with your computer or pen and paper, staring into oblivion and trying as much as possible to write one line, but no…your mind is blank, brain feels empty and you could even be under pressure or given a deadline to come up with something! It is truly a very terrible, terrible phase in every songwriter’s life. Is it a one-time thing? Not at all, but it happens more often to some than others. Can writer’s block be overcome? YES! Find out how. Read on!
1———-Take Out Distractions And Clear Your Workspace
Songwriters and all musicians are usually imagined to be very rowdy and untidy people. Whether that is true or not, learn to declutter your workspace before attempting to write a new song or work on a new project; take out those unnecessary items lying around like sheets of paper, staplers, coffee mugs, rulers, sticky notes containing overdue to-do list , food particles etc; get rid of them entirely? or arrange them properly. Sometimes, the mess on our desks and workspace interferes with the mess in our heads (thoughts and worries) and this further frustrates the effort of trying to think up something new.
Take away whatever would pose as a distraction: your phone, game console, television or any other thing, make sure your eyes and mind are rid of a messy and cluttered desk, chair or floor. When your surrounding is tidy, it is easier for your brain to concentrate this way because whatever mess that would have sent negativity to your brain through your eyes has been taken away.
2———-Play Around The Title Of The Song
I know that this usually works in the reverse, i.e after composing the whole song, then you pick a suitable title, but for you to successfully combat writer’s block, this could also work. Instead of writing the song first and picking a title afterwards, try picking a title first, and then write lyrics based on your chosen title. Narrowing down your options helps to combat writer’s block. What do you want your song to be about? Life, love, friendship, a girl/boy, values etc.
Instead of sitting down and allowing a billion thoughts or none at all to come across your mind, reduce your chances of getting lost in space by picking a category where you want your song to fall into, then pick a title based on that category. For example; If I’m experiencing writer’s block, I may want to help myself by writing about a lover, and pick a title like “Man of my dreams”; in no time, lyrics would start to flow because my options have been well narrowed down….
”On a cold winter night;
Beneath the dim moonlight;
I came across this knight…”
You see what I did there?? Omg! I’m getting inspired already. Lol!?
So, basically what I’m saying is that titles give you a direction on where to go; it doesn’t even have to rhyme like mine, just keep writing!
3———-Take Breaks, Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself
Let’s be honest with one another here, it would be useless sitting in a spot for 2 hours without achieving anything, and suddenly think that if you stay for an hour more, you’ll get bombarded with ideas and lyrics. It doesn’t work like that! The human brain is configured to be more effective once it is refreshed; leave where you are, take a stroll, be exposed to nature, eat some snacks, play with your pet, go for a swim, jog a little, do anything that will take your mind off songwriting for a while; when you take a breath of fresh air (literally or figuratively), your mind will be relaxed and come back more productive to brainstorm. Don’t be too hard on yourself, even the best songwriters face this problem of writer’s block and have to take breaks every now and then.
4———-Try The Chorus First
80% of song writers I have come across have admitted that this point helps them greatly in combating writer’s block. When you are void of ideas and creativity and you have a deadline or time limit of when to complete a song, start by humming randomly or mixing random beats and sounds into your DAW; it might not make complete sense at all at first, but just keep at it – keep writing and creating.
Even when you start getting a hang of things, making headway or start “feeling” the song, avoid the verse, intro, outro or bridge for now, write the chorus first, because it’s easier to draw out a verse from the chorus. Sing or play the chorus over and again, stabilize the chorus, master the chorus, infact, “eat” the chorus! When that is settled, other parts of the song will start to take form.
5———-Draw Lyrics From Life’s Experiences
Everyone has their own wells of experience – draw from it! We all have that cherished moment, unforgettable experience, painful situation, emotional time or hardship period, these key experiences are hard to forget. Take a deep look into your life and bring your experiences to the surface, bring your emotions into play. Write about what made you happy, sad, cheerful, lost, abandoned, fulfilled – bring your emotions into reality. This is one of the simplest and tactful ways to combat writer’s block – writing from the core of your soul.
6———-Listen To Music And People That Inspire You
When you’re facing writer’s block, you definitely need someone, you’re not an island. Take some time out to listen to music from other artistes, listen to musicians who inspire you, listen to speakers you love, listen to people that motivate and bring the best out of you, listen to other genres of music too, you might just get a sentence, tune, word or vibe that would push you through your phase of blankness and open up a new chapter of innovativeness for you.
Same spot, same room, same chair, same smell, same house, same everything everytime! Arrgghh! Can be quite the bore right? Yeah, I know. To combat writer’s block, change your environment, do things outside the norm – leave that chair, leave that house, leave that environment! An action as little as going to a park, garden, friend’s place or another studio can give you that spark you need to create some powerful new, mind-blowing lyrics. Break the regular pattern of your brain for a change!
Those musical juices just have to flow – one way or another. Are you a songwriter? I’m sure you also must have been visited by writer’s block at some point. How do you deal with it? Comment below.