September 24, 2020 3 Comments

There are no artists who don’t suffer from writer’s block occasionally. It may seem that some don’t, because they consistently generate great work, but they’re human too. In reality, professional songwriters simply have tools they can use to get out of a slump, and to prevent writer’s block in the first place.

In fact, there’s enough knowledge in the world about this that if you play your cards right, you can learn to generate a reliable stream of creative energy, which will help you be as consistent as any of the greats.

Here are some of our most basic, tried and true tips for preventing and getting out of writer’s block.

  • Regenerate – Eventually you will run out of creative juice. It’s a good idea to fill the well by spending time consuming art and life, rather than just writing all the time. This will also help you to avoid the dreaded “writing about writing” syndrome.
  • Get some exercise – Exercise not only keeps you healthy, it can boost your creative thinking and can be another way to regenerate.
  • Get out of the house/studio – Being cooped up inside your house or studio too much will lead to burn out. So, make sure to get out. To the store, to a friend’s, for a walk.
  • Get some sleep – Contrary to popular belief, all-nighters and sleep deprivation do not contribute well to creative energy. Get the requisite 7-8 hours of sleep per night to keep fresh.
  • Have Fun – Sometimes things get too serious for us adults. Creativity is more about freedom of expression than work, so even though it takes discipline to get good and be successful, make sure to keep it light. Find things you can do that aren’t writing that are just plain fun.
  • Write your way out – Sometimes when you’re stuck it helps to simply take a notepad and write anything that comes to mind down, without any editing or agenda. You can do the same with your instrument. Just noodle for a half hour without trying to actually come up with a song.
  • Don’t be a perfectionist – It can paralyze you and keep you from writing if you think everything you write has to be gold. Let yourself write songs that aren’t good. Those songs will lead to the good ones.
  • Know when it’s done – A common mistake artists of all kinds make is not knowing when a piece is finished. This leads to songs, poems, even paintings getting ruined. The great thing is, if you can recognize this point and let a song be done, you’ll preserve creative energy for other songs.
  • Quit while you’re ahead – Many successful creatives use this trick: Stop for the day while you’re on a roll. It may seem dumb to stop before you’re out of juice, but if you leave it hanging while you still have a lot of ideas, you’ll be able to more consistently come back the next day and keep it going. This works especially well when producing in the studio.
  • Let it be – Sometimes it’s just not time for you to write. That’s ok. You can practice instead. Or promote. Or book gigs. Or *gasp* stop working for a bit. Even if it takes days or weeks, trust you will have more ideas.

There you have it. Our most reliable writer’s block defeating techniques. Employing even a few of these should help you find a more consistent flow.

Of course, if you’re truly stuck for a long time, you may also want to dive into why. In fact, successful creative professionals often seek professional help either from other artists and coaches, or even from professional counselors – because art is after all about the mind and emotions, so help from an expert might just help release that next big hit.

Here’s to continued creativity and your next great song!



3 Responses

Randy Camp
Randy Camp

December 11, 2020

I like the article. Myself, I will carry a note pad or digital recorder and get my idea written or sang to the recorder. Sometimes the “parts” I get down become a song unto themselves. Thanks for the help

John Brook
John Brook

October 01, 2020

another valid trick is to pick an object from nature, a stick, a rock, sea shell anything natural. look at the lines and patterns in the object and draw them. then walk the lines of the drawings not thinking about anything but putting one foot in front of the other.. thoughts will well up from your subconscious mind . jot down every thing and keep walking. after awhile stop and look over what you’ve written. you might be surprised.

Jim King
Jim King

September 28, 2020

I agree you should quit when it’s done. So, how do you guys know? I hate to keep poking at a song but, when does it become ‘changing’ it rather than ‘improving’ it? I could use some input here. Thanks!

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