6 Ways to Overcome Songwriter’s Block

Truth is… no one person has complete inspiration within him or herself. Musically, everyone has someone or something that influences their creative writing process. But no matter who you are or what level you might be on as a songwriter, those two dreadful words ‘Writer’s Block’ has probably affected you at some point in time. And despite your best efforts to climb out of the dungeon of writer’s gloom, nothing seems to work – not even changing writing locations, the time you write, or listening to your favorite music for inspiration. If you come to the place where you are facing a brick wall of creativity, and even your most noble efforts to write seem dead because you keep trying the same routine, read the tips that Music Instructor and Blogger, Gary Ewer shares in this article. They are helpful guidelines that might be just what you need to get yourself over the hump… and back in the driver’s seat of songwriting creativity.

Gary says, “Fear of failure is the cause of most occurrences of songwriter’s block.”

As humans, we’re able to be creative like no other species on earth. Other animals have the ability to play, imagining themselves (at least on a rudimentary level) in different scenarios, usually play fighting. But to our knowledge there are no other animals who have the capability – or the desire, it would seem – to be creative like we are.

As a songwriter, you know that there are days when ideas flow quickly, and where it seems that everything you touch turns to gold. And then, there are all those other days.

Those other days are the ones when you fight for every idea that happens, and you feel anything but prolific. On those days, you feel about as creative as all the other animal species on the planet, and you may even start to wonder why you’re trying at all.

Writer’s block, no matter what kind of artist you are (composer, author, choreographer, playwright, etc), is typically classified by researchers as being either mild, moderate, or severe. In severe writer’s block, the problem is grave: many with severe writer’s block are so afflicted that they often consider giving up entirely and permanently. That’s probably not you.

The vast numbers of people going through writer’s block are enduring what could be termed moderate writer’s block. A moderate block is one that lasts for more than a few days, and it’s a bit more than just a simple lack of ideas. In a moderate block, you feel discouragement and fear every time you sit down to write. In fact, even before attempting to write, you feel a kind of “artistic depression” grab you – you just know that you’re not going to get anything done.

Similar to a basketball player’s scoring drought, a fear of failure is the cause of the trouble, and that fear has a way of deepening the problem. If you could just start scoring some baskets, you know the fear would subside.

When writer’s block has grabbed you, it’s not because you can’t come up with ideas. It’s that every idea you create seems lame, and seems to lead nowhere. When your ideas feel like they’re grinding to a halt in this way, there are a few things you can do to get the brain going again.

Talk to other songwriters. Since we know that most occurrences of writer’s block come from a fear of failure, speaking to other songwriters about their experiences with the dreaded condition can help deal with the fear. There is a way through this!

Create songwriting partnerships. A songwriting partnership means that when your ideas are on the wane, you’ll feel inspired by the ideas of people you’re working with.

Less writing, more listening. Almost nothing is created in a vacuum in the world of the creative arts. Most of your ideas, whether you realize it or not (or want to admit it), have their birth in music that you’re listening to. You might be surprised how much your artistic batteries recharge themselves after listening to good music.

Switch to a different art form. You’re still being creative when you put your guitar down and pick up a pen or a painting brush. It gives you an entirely new way of being creative that comes with far less pressure.

Concentrate on teaching. Teaching allows you to put your musical thoughts into words. That process helps you make sense of this thing you’re trying to do. So while you’re helping a student, you’re really helping yourself.

Less writing, more performing. If the ideas aren’t coming the way you’d like, don’t sweat it. Take a break, and focus on your performance skills. Like switching to a different art form, it takes the pressure off having to write while still allowing you to be creative.