All great and valuable advice will inspire new ideas naturally, fuel your passion, and most importantly, will bring growth to your skills. The listed ideas will all undoubtedly lead to regular short-term writer’s block that will then lead to hitting a wall that is far too high and has become unbreakable to push through. Let’s take a look at some bad tips that are popular for all the wrong reasons and ensure you’re not falling for these tricks.
“Write music every day”
Assuming you are a songwriter or producer who aspires to make a career from music, it’s clear you love writing and will do whatever it takes to become the best of the best. Let’s put ourselves in a scenario of an aspiring athlete; they’re doing their absolute best to ensure they are performing greater and stronger every time they train. Though one athlete is training every single day and they’re beginning to burn themselves out physically and mentally. Similarly, writing music every single day will drain a person and only lead them to frequent and longer writers’ block, eventually to the point where they’ve dug a hole too deep and they can’t get themselves out.
Please note, that this does not include writing small ideas each day; whether this is a title, one line or a melodic hook - when that little burst of inspiration comes to you, write it down or record that melody, but if nothing comes to you for one or a few days, that’s ok. The difference is to make sure you’re not forcing yourself to sit down to stare at a blank Pro Tools file and pushing yourself to have a full demo by the end of the day. Listen to your body; when it’s time to rest, you rest.
“Always finish what you started”
This is unrealistic and will most definitely lead to a writer’s block. Similar to the above, this tip will only force inspiration when sometimes it just isn’t there in that moment. The key to growing your skill as a songwriter or producer is not by having a catalogue of hundreds of finished songs (let’s face it, most of which won’t be great; this is the case with even the biggest writers, it’s human nature to not be able to write a potential global smash every single time). Having a few folders for your vocal melody ideas, lyrics, or hooks is always the way to go. It is far more realistic and gives you the opportunity to select your ideas from each folder and create something new, and in general, will always inspire something new every time you listen back to these old recordings and ideas.
“Make sure it all rhymes”
Welcome to 2020, where the majority of successful songs have no rhyming scheme nor do they rely on one to be a great song.
Not every single song has to resemble poetry where each line rhymes, though you will notice, even though rhyming isn’t a priority, there still is a flow in each line which results in the following lines connecting and complimenting well. Ava Max is a great example as most, if not all of her songs are written by using a play on words and by creating excellent melodies that piece together each line perfectly.
Commonly this is created with vocal melodies. Give it a go - if anything, it’s less stress and ups the creativity. Have fun with it.
“Always start with a title”
Songwriting is one of the most fluid skills there probably will ever be. For some writers, consistently starting with the title works for them and luckily they proceed to write a good or great song. Though pushing this technique onto a writer who actually benefits more from starting with a melody or chords, for example, this will only pause their development until they finally click that it is not working for them.
Each songwriter or producer has their own way of writing music, and whether or not you feel you have found your niche for the starting process of starting a new song, still experiment. Perhaps writing a chorus works well for you, or writing the key main hook, or writing melody-less lyrics. It’s all subjective.
"Try writing in a different style"
This bad songwriting tip is the ultimate way to drag yourself into a dark 'songwriters block' room and yes, you may as well set up camp and throw away the key while you're in there.
Similar example to above, if athletes work themselves into severe exhaustion and dehydration, should they keep going? Of course not. They're physically drained to the point where their mind and body is screaming to rest and recover, so why should they or anybody else hurt themselves just to feel they've achieved something.
You may be thinking how this comparison is far too different to songwriting and may be irrelevant, but writers block is a feeling of defeat. It's an endless cycle of not feeling you're strong or talented enough to become successful in your field, but it can be easily avoided by simply listening to your body. Feel like you need to step away? Go for it! Take one huge leap away because you'll only gain good from having time to yourself.
Never see time away from songwriting as not progressing; because if you were to work through your feelings of defeat when you need a timeout, you'll only be prolonging that painful cycle. Though taking time away, that's the ultimate development as you work on you and discover your passion more than ever. It's exciting.
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