There is one unfortunate event that is all but certain to happen to any songwriter: the dreaded writer's block.
The nuisance of writer's block, a helpless frustration that can last days or even weeks on end, will leave you staring at your blank notebook or computer screen wanting to pull your hair out.
So what causes writer's block? Well, this inability to tap into your creative drive isn't likely due to one specific thing, but rather a culmination of number of different elements in your life. Stress, diet, weather, setting and lack of sleep are all very common causes of writer's block.
The following are 5 easy and highly effective ways to conquer your own writer's block:
1. Find inspiration in new places
Sometimes a block can be caused simply by your regular routine. By writing in the same place every day or by looking to the same source of inspiration every day, you're likely to get stuck in a rut.
Simply removing yourself from the regularity of your every day life, which could be writing lyrics outside instead of inside, bringing your guitar to the beach, or even trying to write music in a different room of your house, you may be able to find inspiration to push you through the block.
2. Do something completely different
Again removing yourself from your usual routine can help you to conquer writer's block. Except this time, instead of just trying to continue writing in a different setting, you may want to completely remove yourself from the equation by doing something totally different in order to give yourself a fresh start.
Exercise, cooking, reading, watching a movie, taking a drive, anything that you enjoy, that can be a source of calm and relaxation is a great way to recharge your creative batteries so that when you return to your music, you can use the fresh perspective on a project that may have been hitting a wall.
3. Forget about perfection
Believe it or not, always striving for perfection can be a source of writer's block. By consistently taking yourself out of the creative mindset to critique your work, you're setting yourself up to feel stuck with something just isn't exactly as it should be. So forget about perfection!
When you are writing, try to nurture your creativity rather than your ability to be perfect and let the music or lyrics come as they are. Once you've gotten it all down on paper, you can always go back and tweak it.
4. Get organized
Organization is the key to creativity. Or rather, clutter is the antithesis of creativity - it doesn't allow you to think clearly and effectively, in order to see all of the best possibly options. Writer's block is commonly caused by your inability to effectively connect the dots between all of your writing efforts, especially if you are one to start a song, put it down, and pick it up later to be finished.
Get yourself organized by outlining your thoughts, recording all of your ideas (either on paper or digitally), and keep your writing space clean!
Being organized will help you to have peace at mind, so that as you are writing music, lyrics, melodies, etc. you will be able to focus purely on the music and not on how stuffy your room feels, or how good this new idea would fit with another melody you previously wrote, if only you could find it!
5. Free form writing
If you've tried all 4 ideas above and you still continue to find yourself struggling with writer's block, you may just simply need to put all of the cards on the table; to forget about trying to write something coherent and just write anything and everything that comes to your mind, for the purpose of just getting it out.
This can be done with free form writing. Take out a piece of paper, a notebook, your computer, your smartphone, anywhere you like to write, and just simply start writing. It could even be random words that don't even fit into a sentence. By simply releasing and capturing your stream of consciousness, you'll not only be able to get it out so you can start fresh, but it can also act as a brainstorming session that can be looked back on to see if there were any ideas hiding in the mix of your creative clutter.
How do you conquer your writer's block?
Everyone gets writer's block at one point or another, and similarly everyone finds their own ways to conquer it. Let us know how you have conquered your own block in the past in the form of a comment below!