Fighting Writer’s Block, The Smart Way

advice blog for musicians and composers

Article by: Scott Mitchell | Author, Music Creator

VQS Advice Blog | Cover Image by Steve Johnson

It’s part of our artistic nature, writer’s block happens. Here are some ways I’ve found helpful to break through that wall!

How To Fight Writer’s Block:
5 Smart Tips To Keep You Going

image by: Thought Catalog

1. Keep Writing

Even if you don’t like what you’re coming up with, keep writing new ideas! I’ve gone through 20 starts to get to that one that clicks and propels me forward! Try different approaches, starting with different aspects, even writing out of order: if you have a great idea for a bridge first? Use it!

I also find it helpful to stop worrying about a specific mold or goal here, just write and see what happens! If you can’t use it for this particular project, it will probably still come in handy later and at least you’ve achieved getting the creativity going again.

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2. Channel Your Current Emotions

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What are you feeling right now? It doesn’t have to be anywhere close to what you normally do, but focus on what you’re feeling in the moment and channel it!

Finding the moment’s passion is something I’ve found super helpful to break down the writer’s block wall.

It can also be helpful to think about your surroundings metaphorically, and what they could mean to you in a song. I’ve written some songs about what’s around me, and finding ways to apply them to describing my current mood. 

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3. Listen To New Music

I think we are all guilty of getting into our musical comfort zone sometimes, but branching out into music you haven’t heard yet can help spawn new ideas. I’ve even found it helpful to let my phone play music on shuffle, songs I forgot about can come on and click with me more in that moment than before.

Pandora (or something similar) can be a very helpful tool for finding new music, if I don’t feel like searching but want something new, I’ll toss on Pandora for a while!

4. Try A New Instrument

image: Oleg Ivanov

One major thing I’ve learned over the years as a multi-instrumentalist is that each instrument has the potential to convey the emotion you want better than the others. Utilize that! If you don’t play multiple instruments, during writer’s block is a great time to pick up a new one! You’ll be surprised at the new ideas that come out of it.

If you don’t play an instrument, or don’t want to take the time to learn a new one? Try experimenting with new scales, chords, ranges, melodies, word structures, or any sort of details you haven’t yet utilized. Sometimes all it takes is playing around for a while to find some new chords and patterns that get me going again.

5. Learn A New Song You Love

Another helpful method I’ve found is learning a song that you know and love. As I’m trying to get it down, new ideas come to mind as I’m playing new chord structures and note patterns.

When doing this, it can help to keep in mind a song that hits you deeply in that moment. I tend to discover the specifics of conveying an emotion in ways I wouldn’ t have otherwise come up with.

Sometimes it takes a combination of some or all of these to break down that wall, but keep trying! I hope these ideas can help get those creative juices flowing again, and I love to hear from you.

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Article by: Scott Mitchell

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