Updated: May 24
What Is A ‘Writers Block’?
Any songwriter or producer out there that has been writing for at least a couple years now would have experienced the dreaded ‘writer’s block’. That cycle of starting a song with no creative motivation and it ending shortly with no feeling less than deflation. Even though it’s a common subject that all artists, writers, and musicians will hit, it’s not very spoken about that it can in fact be avoided long-term and it doesn’t have to be something that you worry about in the future. Simple but effective hacks is all it takes.
What Causes A Songwriting Block?
Whether you write songs for your own desire or you’re persisting to become a Grammy Award-winning writer, hitting that wall will usually come down to the same reasons and
through the Covid-19 lockdown’s, it’s been more common for songwriters and producers to throw themselves into an uninspired spiral and it’s more than understandable. Whether or not your career is creative, being cooped up in your home for more days and hours than you can count will beat you down and it’s tough, though on the brighter side we’re almost at the end of the long tunnel.
The interesting thing about being in isolation through lockdown vs the normal life outside of this where you’re writing regularly and in sessions, it is not much different as to why you’re still hitting the wall. Either way, you’re still adding pressure and stressing yourself into writing something game-changing which will always be the deep rooted reason of what starts demotivation - from here it builds into doubt, overthinking if the writer’s path is for you and eventually stopping altogether.
Having these thoughts simply shows that you give a hoot, and you’re right because if only the world showed us that we cared in a more fulfilling inspiring way right. Sadly not, but the good news is that it can become less often and eventually a very once in a blue moon occasion and that always starts with knowing the very early signs like mentioned above (doubt, pressure and stress etc) and being sure to take action before the big pity party really kicks in. Let’s have a look in detail below.
How To Overcome Songwriter's Block?
Have you been finding yourself silently staring at Logic with the same looped beat, nothing coming to mind for the last couple of hours or days. Perhaps sitting with your guitar looking blankly at the new chord progression you’ve put together, feeling nothing but bored and uninspired.
As mentioned above we went into the early signs of what will cause the writers block so now you know how to recognize when it’s time to change things up. Let’s call this Phase 1 of overcoming writers block.
All routines like this have such a similar pattern of going around in circles wanting to do anything except write music and throw away everything you’ve worked hard on. Thing is, this is your mind and body’s way of telling you to take a step back - and I want to highlight as many times as possible through this post that taking time away from writing doesn’t mean you’re hindering your progress, it means you’re preparing yourself for the bigger outcome.
This is Phase 2 - understanding you need to take a step back and appreciate this time away. But what does this ‘time away’ mean? What do you even do to make sure you’re doing it the right way.
Put it this way, your time away does not mean to reflect on your music career and discover what you really want in life, it means to live life away from music, your goals, your achievements etc. Spend time with family and friends, get yourself out more and meet new people, go abroad, get a pet, go abroad with your pet. Literally anything else away from music.
You might be thinking “well how does this benefit the actual music side?”, but the idea is that you discover how to fall in love with music again away from analysing every detail of the creative process. For example, say there’s a couple who have been together for a number of years, live together, eat, breathe and sleep together. They’ve invested so much time and energy into each other that they begin to lose themselves as individuals, so one advises that they need a healthy break. Key word, healthy. Not like a Ross and Rachel break.
This means doing the things that you love away from the relationship - similar situation is that writing music doesn’t define you as a person and so shouldn’t rule your highest highs and lowest lows. But I’ll say this again, having a time out away from building your career will not at all mean that you will make slower progress, if anything it speeds it up because when you’re ready to move forward, you have the right tools to go into writing with a stronger and clearer headspace.
Summary: Moving Too Fast
There’s one final Phase 3 which we will go into shortly, but first I want you to understand that getting yourself out of a writers block and staying out of it works like a circle, but the key most important thing is to put yourself first and pace yourself with the writing process, because that’s exactly what this like of career is all about, a process.
That being said, now you cherish yourself and are now your number one fan through the self-love Phase 2 process, you will naturally start becoming inspired with your future and life in general which is very easily allow you to see and hear music differently. With the final Phase 3, I’d want you to (when it naturally comes to you), listen to all of your all time favourite songs - the ones that inspired you when you were a child, the ones that make you dance or cry, just in general the ones that make you FEEL.
This is the phase that will open up the doors for you and perhaps will inspire you to get down to writing, but like I said before you got to make sure you’re taking your time. If an amazing hook or lyric or beat pops to mind, amazing! Get it written or recorded so you have it ready, but avoid pushing yourself to start and finish the song all in one (unless it feels natural to). You’re still making sure you’re prioritizing yourself here and always.
I want to summarize by saying we’re all at the pace where we need to be. So whether you’re currently writing an LP which you’re hyped about and feeling inspired by or you’re currently reading this thinking all you want to do is binge Love Island, the pace perfect.
This is something I always love to inform my writers about and I cannot push this enough because the music business is no different to having a career as a lawyer or mechanic - eventually you will burn yourself out if you’re not aware and careful. Take those holidays, see your friends and family, become a gym nerd, just enjoy and fall in love with life.