It doesn’t matter if you’re working on a sketch for a song or are trying to finish an album that’s being in the works for over a year: writer’s block is one of the worst problems a musician could possibly face.
In extreme cases, songwriting plateaus can often represent make-or-break moments for musicians and composers. That is, writer’s block can result in someone totally giving up on a song or long-term project out of sheer frustration.
Rather than let mental blocks win, instead consider the steps you can take to break through a songwriting plateau. Any combination of the following five tips can help make it happen sooner rather than later.
Rethink Your Sound
Many artists find themselves in a creative rut because they simply beat a dead horse in terms of the type of music they’re writing. After all, writing acoustic song after acoustic song or ballad after ballad might get a bit boring, right? Additionally, sticking to a single genre or sound could stifle you creatively when there’s an entire world of new sounds to play with.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with new midi files, samples and loops such as those you can find for free from Cymatics.fm. These files can help you go beyond your typical style or genre in pursuit of something, well, different. Even if you don’t release or record your experimental tracks professionally, creating them at all represents a great way to continue making music despite feeling out of the loop.
Record Your Songwriting Sessions
On a similar note, make it a point to record any and all of your songwriting sessions regardless of whether or not they feel productive. By listening back to your recordings, you can pick out the best bits of your practice sessions and focus on your creative strengths. Just because you feel that your time songwriting isn’t productive doesn’t mean that it’s true: after all, a recording doesn’t lie.
Learn Some New Cover Songs
There’s no better time to learn some new covers than when you’re sick of working on your own music. The benefits of playing covers are two-fold as you continue growing as a musician while also reintroducing yourself to musical styles that aren’t your own. After learning a new series of covers you might come back to the studio energized and inspired to try something new you learned in the process.
Switch Up Your Routine
Falling into a regular routine isn’t always the best idea for songwriters who need to keep the creative juices flowing. If you always write lyrics in your bedroom, for example, try going out in public to a bar, coffee shop or park for your next songwriting session. You may be surprised at how much embracing routine disruption inspires your creative process and takes you out of the monotony of exclusively writing from the same spot.
Drop “Perfect” from your Vocabulary
If you’re striving to write the “perfect” track day after day, you’re inevitably going to burn out. Instead, simply focus on improving and strive to make each track you compose a little bit better than the last. Perfection is productivity killer for creative types: remember that the imperfect something is better than the perfect nothing.
Writer’s block is an inevitable aspect of being a musician or composer: at some point, you will be challenged with a creative plateau. By having these tips in the back of your mind prior to burnout, you’ll be better equipped to break through and keep the creative juices flowing.