5 Ways to Fix Writer’s Block
Struggling with writer’s block? It’s likely to happen to all songwriters at some point throughout their career, and for those new to writing songs. While there is no magic pill to fix writer’s block, there are plenty of methods that you can use to overcome it.
Effective techniques to fix writer’s block:
#1 Embrace your inner copycat
It’s easy to become intimidated by the countless songs that are out there and feel pressured to bring something ‘fresh’ and ‘new’ to the table.
Don’t get bogged down by this idea.
No songs are purely original – inspiration always comes from somewhere. Your personal experiences and perspective on the world is what is going to make the song unique.
Try to re-imagine your favourite song through your own perspective. Select snippets of the lyrics and try to rewrite these in your own words.
While you do so, ask yourself:
- What story is the artist telling?
- Can you identify with the story?
Capture any personal experiences that come to mind and try to build these into your new lyrics.
#2 Be critical — not cynical
Have you ever written down an idea, only to look at it moments later and lose interest entirely?
This is a completely normal response. As humans, we are attracted to novelty. So, once the idea is written down on paper, it can quickly lose its magic and we forget how inspired we originally were.
The key is to resist this initial instinct and push yourself to unpack the idea and, instead, understand the journey that led you there in the first place.
“Writer’s block is probably the most frustrating thing for a musician. The best way for me is to focus my mind on a different task or activity that makes me happy and excited for an hour or two, then I revisit the song.” — Ella M, pop singer-songwriter
Facebook & Instagram: @itsellamusic
Approach your idea head-on and write down what you dislike about it in this moment; ideally, in full sentences.
Then, answer these questions:
- Why did I come up with the idea in the first place
- Was it a personal experience?
- Was it an observation
- Was it a sudden realisation?
- What did I like about the idea at the time?
Spend at least 10 minutes answering these questions and see if this re-ignites the initial spark you had.
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#3 Get out of your comfort zone
Your routine and what you consume externally will impact your artistic output. So, if you’re listening to the same music, watching the same TV shows, or even eating the same foods, it isn’t a surprise that you’re not generating new creative ideas.
Stimulate your brain with new experiences.
To fix writers block through new experiences, try listening to a new genre of music and write down any insights that you have.
Perhaps you will find aspects about the music that you appreciate, and if not, doing this will simply remind you what parts you miss.
#4 Power-write to fix writer’s block
Make a point of sitting down to write every day. Set yourself goals, like writing one to two songs daily.
This may seem like a lot, but it will focus your mind and simply get you into the habit of writing. In this case, quantity beats quality.
Worrying about quality or content, at a stage where you haven’t gathered much songwriting experience, is an unnecessary stress that will hinder you from truly learning what kind of songwriter you are.
Choose a recent activity, like working out in the gym or reading a book. Whatever it is, describe it with as much detail as you can, with the aim to turn it into a 3-minute song.
Don’t worry too much about the structure, or whether or not it rhymes. Instead, concentrate on how creative you can get with your words.
Ed Sheeran describes the process of songwriting as being like an old tap: “At first, you’re going to get sh** water for a substantial amount of time, but then clean water is going to start flowing”.
#5 Take a break and call it work
Sometimes, you can push all you want but it’s useless if your mind is full and distracted. Take a break that will allow your mind to empty itself, with an activity like going for a walk or a run, or meditating.
Watching TV does not count as a break, as that will only fill your mind with more fluff. To make way for insights, your brain needs space.
So take a breath, remind yourself that this is a completely normal part of the songwriting process, and don’t let it get the better of you.
Have you suffered from writer’s block? What methods do you use to fix writers block? We would love to hear about them in the comments below!