Overcoming writer's block can be a challenge for new writers as much as it can be for professional writers. Some kind of creative constipation that freezes you in front of a blank page, and where inspiration seems to be lacking like a windless day for a sailor on the sea. Do not worry, for even famous writers struggle to get their creative juices flowing sometimes. If you are a professional songwriter who needs to write daily, you will naturally encounter it one day or another. We recommend that you stick with this article until the end, as you wouldn't want to miss some great advice on how to get rid of writers' block.
In this piece, we'll go over the possibility to cure writer's block after we examine what causes it.
You will walk out of this article with deep knowledge about writer's block, and tips on overcoming it.
We would like you to be able to face it next time you stumble upon it in your writing process and use these tips and tricks to get past writer's block.
Let's dive in.
What Is Writer's Block?
Also referred to as a creative block, it is a state in which a producer is unable to start or move forward in his creative process. Either nothing comes to mind, or what comes is not good enough. Don't think that this only concerns writers, it happens in any type of creative work. Songwriters can lack rhymes, and producers can run short on melodies to tell their stories.
But if we take time to reflect, writer's block is just the visible part of the iceberg. More important underlying issues should be addressed to get it out of our way. Generally, in creative work, we are our own worst enemy.
So how do you beat writer's block? You might be eagerly asking right now.
We would like to shift your attention to what causes it, since understanding the underlying issues is half the process.
10 Main Causes Of Writer's Block
Perfectionism has its place in creative processes. Yet many writers drown themselves with high self-criticism and infinite revisions at every step of the process. It does not leave any space for spontaneous creative flow, which is the root of creativity. Perfectionism should be left for overall revisions.
You are writing a song but instead of trying to find a melody along, you obsess over the lyrics for days until you lose the initial inspiration. That is not good practice.
Fear cripples the creative energy. Be it fear of not being good enough or fear of not pleasing others, all it does is freeze you in place. It does not allow you to move forward and actually discover if you're good and if your work pleases others. Do you see the loop of irony now? How can you ever discover your work if you don't go through with it?
Let's face it! If your phone is on and next to your workstation, you don't get anything done. The concept of notifications was invented for you to take a peek at your phone when something is happening in it. How do you expect not to have writer's block when your TV is on in the living room, your phone is connected to the Wi-Fi and your door is wide open for anyone to walk in?
Delaying or postponing your creative flow can be a source of frustration and stress. The trap with procrastination is the more you procrastinate, the worse you feel about yourself. I know that from experience. Sometimes we look at a blank page and we decide we'll start writing when inspiration comes. But then one day passes, then a week and finally, you don't even feel the creative energy of that work anymore. Eventually, you move on.
Too Many Ideas
It is writing day, and so many ideas are competing in your head. I know how frustrating it can be to not know which idea to start with, or which one best suits your writing project needs. Some writers can thrive on this type of flexibility of thought where they extract the good in each idea, while other writers find it tiring and can't start until they narrow it down to one main idea.
Too Few Ideas
On the other hand, you might find yourself with not enough creative juices for your song. Your ideas are too few or just did not take full form in your head. This cause should be taken seriously as it may lead to dropping out and thinking we're not good enough for the project.
Too Much Going On In Your Life
You start your writing session but then you remember some bills, your kids that need picking up from school, or in some cases your primary job obligations. It does not encourage the flow of your creativity, and you find yourself thinking about daily life struggles instead of imagining a great way to tell your story.
You Can't Translate Your Ideas
So many geniuses are sitting on their couches struggling to find a way to translate their vision. They don't have the knowledge and tools to bring their ideas to life, yet they are potentially holding some great songs.
This underlying issue is mainly due to a lack of learning and practice.
In every aspect of our life, we hear a high judge inside of us speaking ill of our doings. We rarely take notice that this judge never offers solutions to get us out of the negative self-talk loop. All it does is criticize everything we do, and not in a constructive way. This applies especially in creative fields, as there is no rational aspect to it we can use against our high judge.
Stuck In a Narrative
Most of the time overcoming writer's block becomes a narrative, and we stay stuck in it. The creative juices are flowing and ideas are coming out of thin air, yet we are still locked on the first insecurity or self-criticism we had a couple of days ago. This is where moving forward becomes scarier than being stuck in the block.
Many other underlying issues to writer's block exist, but we believe these are the ones most encountered in creative work and the ones we can observe around us.
Now, an important question comes to mind when we are in this situation and researching tips on the net: How long will it last? Am I going to write again soon?
How Long Does Writer's Block Last?
Brace yourself: writer's block lasts as long as you want it to. Yes! You will discover with the next tips we will discuss that you do have power over it and that it is only up to you to decide how and when you want to get out.
20 Tips To Overcome Writer's Block
Many creatives have discovered ways to overcome writer's block according to their personality, and the field they work in. Therefore there is a large panoply of tips and tricks to cure writer's block. However, the best ideas in the music industry have been recognized worldwide as they can apply to any songwriter facing writer's block. We would like to discuss those with you.
Push Through Fear
When having writer's block, the crippling factor is not the block itself. Sometimes before even starting on the first draft of your song, you start giving in to your fear. Am I good enough? Do people like me? How will I be judged when I publish? These are all questions that most creatives constantly ask themselves before being recognized and validated. We give so much credit to it, yet the same fear keeps us stagnant.
One of the most recommended tips on writer's block is to just push through it. Imagine just for a second that you believe all your ideas are worthless, and keep in mind you are the only one judging them that way. Start writing at least 10 bad ideas you have, and then write 10 even worse ones. You now have 20 song ideas objectively speaking, narrow it down to one idea with potential and work on it. At worst, you get to practice, and you are not even thinking about writer's block anymore.
The best remedy against the fear of a blank page is to put words on the page.
Practice Makes Perfect
For so many creatives, writer's block is not resulting from their lack of ideas but from their inability to bring them to life. This is the story of so many unfulfilled artists who think they are worthless because they can't manifest their project properly, and give up at the end.
This is where practicing is important. Whatever art form you are trying to produce, you won't produce the great stuff unless you go through the average stuff. Great songwriters are not born great, they just never stop writing.
Try having a writing routine by implementing a writing schedule that you would stick to no matter what happens. When it is writing time, do not pressure yourself to overproduce. Start with a few lines and keep putting words together, until you get a short story.
A writing prompt is an assessment where writers have to write about a certain subject in a precise way. It can be a fun challenge for your mind to evade writer's block and write it out. Sometimes thinking about that one song in particular for a long time blinds us to solutions. All we think about is WHY can't we solve the block, not HOW to solve the block. Therefore writing something else eliminates the block by definition since you are writing, and broadens your horizons to new thought patterns. Eventually, you will go back to your songwriting with a fresh mind.
Many websites propose writing prompts for professionals and amateurs alike. Give it a try next time you have writer's block.
Listen To Music
Music is a great enhancer. You don't experience life the same way with a headset on, it just hits differently. That applies to writing too. Try putting music that gets you going if you feel stuck when you write. Sometimes the mere act of enjoying music puts our inner critic to rest, allowing our ideas to flow again without judgment.
You also get to learn by listening to reference tracks, which can greatly inspire your song in a way or another. After all, without music life would be flat, and writing too.
Rearrange Your Environment
It is only recently that we started realizing the importance of sorting out our homes, and how it affects us. A very famous traditional Chinese practice called Fung Shui proved the importance of harmonizing our surroundings with us, and how it impacts our energy and productivity.
Try cleaning your workstation if you get writer's block. If you prefer it messy, then try rearranging your mess another way. You'll feel a surge of energy around you followed by a surge of energy within you, thus enhancing your creativity and productivity.
Complete a Simple Task
Sometimes our brain gets lost in the complexity of our creative process and stays stuck in it. Completing a simple task is just the thing you need to unwind your thoughts and freshen up mentally. Feel free to choose whatever task you want and make sure it is a simple task that will only get your brain out of the block, not get entangled in complexity again.
If you are stuck with a chorus, get up and try to do the dishes. There is a meditative state to simple chores that just resets our brain.
Complete Another Song
When a writer falls short of the right words for his song, he should try looking into other songs to change his mental scenery. One very efficient way of doing so is watching short films and writing songs about them. Don't take yourself too seriously though, this is just to jumpstart your brain and get it going again. If you end up crafting a great new song instead, then congratulations on your new idea!
Our body and mind thrive on exercise. Endorphins that are generated as a result of it, give us a great deal of energy that translates to productivity. When you write new songs, get up and exercise during the process. The initial idea will linger in your brain, giving it time to explore them and put them together in different ways. After exercising, you will go back to your writing with your mind predisposed to work on the ideas, and even with propositions on how to write the song. Moreover, you get the extra muscle.
Meditation is a wonderful thing for a writer. A tool that helps in bringing our minds to the center and staying focused on our work. When you feel like your inspiration is scattered and your mind is all over the place, try to do mindfulness meditations. And if you feel like you have no inspiration at all, try guided visualization meditations. They enhance your imagination and get your inspiration going.
Cut Out Distractions
In today's society, it only takes a phone call to lose a freshly inspired idea. Entertainment and social media are easily accessible today. Imagine you start writing a song and at the same time you get a text, you check it and 20 minutes later you are scrolling watches to buy after clicking on an ad.
It is a terrifying thing to go back to writing, only to find your idea gone. Your inner critic will only get harsher on you.
When you write, turn off your TV and put your phone in airplane mode. It will change your life.
Our brain is a processor, it overheats and tires itself when it overthinks. If you force yourself to find an idea or to finish a song, it might work against you instead of working for you. If you feel like you lost sight of your original inspiration and that your written words have no added value anymore, try going to a quiet place and sit there quietly. Don't talk and don't try to even think about anything. Your brain will then cool off, and regain its optimal functioning.
You will gain a great deal of inspiration if you include sitting quietly in your writing routine.
If you always write in the same spot, there will come a time where inspiration doesn't flow anymore like it used to. This is normal. The lack of excitement in a perfectly memorized space makes our brain lazy. There is nothing that sparkles its interest anymore. Therefore, it is highly recommended for a writer to change his writing environment from time to time. It will stimulate your creativity, and help you overcome writer's block.
It doesn't have to be far or complicated to get to, a local coffee shop will do the trick.
Don't Write For Others
Your first blog post or song was a great success, now all you think about is what will your audience think of your next piece. This alone is a block. You become obsessed with it at each step of your writing, and can't even write without thinking about it anymore. Since your mind is so busy looking for validation, do you think it takes time to think about your new song? No! All it does now is look for validation.
If you can't write at least one page without thinking about what will your readers think, then it may be time for you to dig deep and ask yourself if you're passionate about the written art or the reader's validation.
Reward Yourself For Respecting Your Routine
Our brain is a great tool but a lousy master. Don't let it decide when you should feel good about writing and when you shouldn't. It is a great tool due to its ability to adapt to new patterns. If you get yourself ice cream each time you stick to your writing routine, your brain will get your creative juice flowing in anticipation of the promised reward. A neat trick to get your brain working for you. You can also try that each time you finish a song, and encourage your brain to produce more songs.
In other words, you are programming your mind when to deliver inspiration and new ideas.
Watch Something Funny
In writing, as in life, most of our stress and blocks come from the fact that we take ourselves too seriously. Watching a funny video or a comedy stand-up will help you relax and unwind. We forget that writing is about imagination and story-telling, and tend to stress more about deadlines than the actual content of our song. A 5-minute video about dogs being clumsy can help you get rid of writer's block.
Don't get too lost though! You don't want to get distracted and lose your creative flow. One or two videos should suffice.
Make Peace With Your Inner Critic
You write your first rhyme and start hearing criticism in your head. Don't freak out and drop everything. Instead, get your inner critic on your side. Listen to it with acceptance and write some practice rhymes to see if there is any constructive criticism you can learn from, then edit as you go.
Your inner critic can be a great ally if you know how to listen to it. Even if all it says is negative, try looking for constructive criticism in it.
Mind mapping is a diagram used to visually organize ideas and information. It is very famous amongst police detectives. If you feel overwhelmed by your ideas, try this method. It will help you better organize and visualize your song's parts. You can even sort them out by themes, characters, or even by importance to you.
Even the process of mind mapping itself can get you out of writer's block.
Talk Out Loud
Have you ever considered a thought seriously in your brain, only to speak it out loud and realize it was a stupid idea? Well, this works both ways. Try voicing out your ideas when you think they are worthless. It might be the case, but if you keep doing it every time, you'll quickly realize that some of your ideas are genius. You just never spoke them out loud to hear them properly.
It is human nature to strive for perfection. But how can you become a master if you don't start as a novice? To think of ourselves as geniuses from the beginning is to bypass the process of becoming so. You got some people appreciating your writing? Good! You even got a job as a professional songwriter? Great! Yet this does not make you a savvy writer. It only puts you on the path of becoming one. So humble yourself, and let your writing grow as it should. This way, you won't judge your writing from high ground.
With humility comes hard work and with hard work comes success.
Work On Your Details
Sometimes it's best to get out of the big picture of your song and focus on the next chorus only, or even work on a new one. Write and develop those details in ways that inspire you for the big picture. Once you get back to the big picture, your mind now got a break from it and can engage with a fresh perspective.
Overcoming writer's block has nothing to do with talent or genius, it is a matter of managing your brain correctly. Acknowledge your writer's block and don't be ashamed of it, you can work with it instead of against it. Rather than being overwhelmed by it, learn to accept it for what it is and humbly look for ways to get past it.
After all, writer's block exists as long as you want it to be.