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Deal with writer block?
Old 11th January 2017
  #1
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Deal with writer block?

What do you usually do to deal with writer block? It's very frustrating.
Old 11th January 2017
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try to use instruments that you're not used to using. or a tuning that you don't normally use
Old 11th January 2017
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I'll keep that in mind, thank you.
Old 12th January 2017
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I'm in this group with a couple other guys and every two weeks we each have to write and record a new song on our own, then we get together on Friday Night to listen to them. There have been a couple times where I was just so busy and it rolls around to Thursday and I have yet to started, have no ideas, and am not in the most creative mood. But I sit down at the computer with my guitar and a mic, and I force myself to write. I've always managed to get the song finished before the deadline.

I guess the point is that for me, having a deadline has helped me overcome any lack of creativity and motivation.

Last edited by Joe Porto; 12th January 2017 at 03:20 AM..
Old 12th January 2017
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Yes, having a deadline can force you to finish a song, if you are the responsible kind of person.
For me, I often overthink my problem to the point every time I start making something I feel this heavy pressure putting me down, making it impossible to do the thing I used to enjoy.
Old 12th January 2017
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Deadlines can work, but not always. Sometimes, you just have to step away from it and have a short break. Either by doing something completely different (go for a walk, watch a movie, read a book, whatever) or stay with the music but try doing something else (make a start on a different piece, just noodle for a while, play some of your own old favourites, etc.) That's the kind of thing I do anyway.
Old 12th January 2017
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@TechKlutz don't wait for inspiration but never force it.
Old 12th January 2017
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I play my guitar......play something old that still resonates. That always brings the creative spirit back.
Old 13th January 2017
  #9
For me, actually not playing at all for a week or two works best.
If you write for job/income this probably won't work obviously.
Old 14th January 2017
  #10
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@boombapdame: You are right. @Unclenny: Struck for inspiration, that works too. @E-Murder: Yeah sometimes you need a break, I haven't been able to do anything for a while now.
Old 14th January 2017
  #11
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Define "writer's block".
Old 14th January 2017
  #12
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I had writers block very a very long time... and I realized a few things:
1). I thought I had a "music studio"... until I realized that I had a wall of gear standing in my way from being creative. MOST of that gear was designed purposefully with limitations to keep you needing the next thing.

2). The DAW was my go to starting point in the studio. Which is wrong. Unjack. Start playing with an instrument and just tweaking sounds. If you're an electronic musician... get an Elektron Analog RYTM and fill it full of samples... take it to bed with some headphones... and make some beats. The DAW is to record your creativity... not be the starting point.

3). I use Ableton and it is really easy to look at it two ways... clip view or arrangement. Use Ableton as an instrument. Operater has presets... Analog has presets... Drum Rack... has presets. Never use the other view unless you've got some to record.

4). Of you're a hardware guy like me... get logic. Ableton has an insurmountable obstacle of not being able to receive SYSEX dumps or label equipment CC commands. Think of Ableton as an instrument.. use it accordingly.

Hope this helps.
Old 14th January 2017
  #13
A couple of joints and a beer can sometimes help !
Old 15th January 2017
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I guess it really depends on expectation. If you are trying to write some groundbreaking piece with every effort, or chasing a hit song, that's a pretty heavy burden. I find that I can always write something...even if it's just a simple, silly song. The Beatles had their share of hits, but they also had Wild Honey Pie, Why Don't We Do It In The Road, etc.
Old 18th January 2017
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@creegstor:
The invisible wall that's blocking your creativity, in this case, song writing.

@Atch:
I can translate your ideas into my case because I mainly work with my DAW and VST plugins, sometimes I spend hours just to tweak a sound to nowhere.

@flanagan:
Hey that's not a bad idea, drink all the problems away.

@Joe Porto:
That's true. If you have no expectation and standard you can write anything about almost everything.
Old 18th January 2017
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TechKlutz View Post
@creegstor:
The invisible wall that's blocking your creativity, in this case, song writing.
You haven't answered the question!
Old 18th January 2017
  #17
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I answered my best, maybe I don't fully comprehend your question.
Old 18th January 2017
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TechKlutz View Post
I answered my best, maybe I don't fully comprehend your question.
That's fine. I actually think the generic nature of your response could possibly indicate a part of your problem.

"The invisible wall that's blocking your creativity, in this case, song writing."

See that really doesn't mean much! It's about as vague and non-specific as you could get. If you want to solve a problem that seems to be beyond your current level, you have to define it first to know what you are dealing with, and also so the people helping you know what you are dealing with.

So in this case what might that mean?

WHERE is the block? (Where SPECIFICALLY!)
WHEN does it happen?
HOW does it manifest?
WHY do you think it happens? (It's ok if you don't fully know, but I suspect you'll have some idea if you dig and contemplate.)
WHAT do you want to do about it?


There are probably other questions like this you could ask around this situation to extract more info, but the above is a start. Ultimately it comes down to what you want to achieve or where you want to get to creatively and figuring a path.
Old 18th January 2017
  #19
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Go to a live jazz concert.

For me that invigorates my senses. Good jazz covers so much of the language of music that I usually find myself daydreaming about new ideas and paths to explore.
Old 18th January 2017
  #20
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@creegstor:
Well if only you asked those questions right from the start then I'd know how to answer more specifically. The block happens pretty random and it's hard to give a right answer. It just happens, like suddenly the magic is gone, I feel empty, sometimes I feel heavy. I'm more interested in knowing how the people here deal with it, it's a very good read.
@smoke:
You must really like jazz a lot.
Old 18th January 2017
  #21
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^ I do like Jazz a lot but I also think a lot of music origin is in blues/jazz, so it kinda whets my appetite for anything. Or cleanses my palette, that sort of thing.

I don't know if there is anything literal I do about it. It comes and goes. If I can't write or compose, I just work on older material, and one day, boom, I'll fire up a blank canvas.

Perhaps set a specific goal or limitation that you will stick to and use that as a challenge and inspiration. Like you are going to use 3 instruments only and complete a song in a day.
Old 18th January 2017
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by creegstor View Post
WHERE is the block? (Where SPECIFICALLY!)
WHEN does it happen?
HOW does it manifest?
WHY do you think it happens? (It's ok if you don't fully know, but I suspect you'll have some idea if you dig and contemplate.)
WHAT do you want to do about it?
The concept of writer's block is interesting to me.

Do we get stalled when we need to write? Or just when we wish we were writing?

I always wait it out.......you can't push the river.
Old 18th January 2017
  #23
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Writing is a skill...the same as playing an instrument. You get better with practice. You don't always WANT to practice, but you do it to improve. No different with writing. Don't look at everything you write as needing to be great. If you are in a slump, just look at it as practice. Throw down a simple progression and hum a melody. Write some silly lyrics. If nothing other than to prevent atrophy in the brain muscle. The magic may not always be there, but the more you write, the more likely it will present itself, and the more prepared you will be when it does.
Old 18th January 2017
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Old 19th January 2017
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Porto View Post
Don't look at everything you write as needing to be great.
I think this is a very important point. If you are awaiting greatness with each piece you are going to be disappointed and sometimes stalled.

I just keep writing.........this one might not be so great, but the next one is always going to be my best one ever.

Old 19th January 2017
  #26
I never suffer from writer's block, and haven't since I stopped putting demands on myself. From that point on, my Muse has kept me plenty busy. It'll shine when it shines.
Old 21st January 2017
  #27
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Hmm... so the key is don't think, don't expect, don't demand or put in too much standard, just keep on doing it, it is whatever it is.
Old 22nd January 2017
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by TechKlutz View Post
Hmm... so the key is don't think, don't expect, don't demand or put in too much standard, just keep on doing it, it is whatever it is.
Perhaps - perhaps not.

I spent close to twenty years pushing myself before I reached this point. It may very well have been that pressure which created the necessary friction to temper my abilities. Sometimes I'm still faced with making choices whenever a composition comes. Although one entire piece may present itself quite lucid, another may take days to come together, but I make sure not to force it, rather sit back and simply listen harder. This presents a challenge within itself. But oddly enough, when another piece does fall into place, I am usually in the middle of preparing a meal.
Old 22nd January 2017
  #29
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This is what i do: Listen to music you normally don't listen to. Something from the 20's or electric, techno, classic, whatever it is that you normally don't really listen to.
The internet is a treasure trove of inspiration.
There is an interesting podcast called "Song exploder" where artists talk about their songs, maybe that can tackle your block.
Official description:
Quote:
A podcast where musicians take apart their songs, and piece by piece, tell the story of how they were made.
If it is really an almost literal block, taking a break for some time can help too.
Old 22nd January 2017
  #30
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@johnny nowhere:
I see, I understand, I agree. Without a challenge and hardship to overcome, you can't progress. Sometimes you're just doing it for the pleasure, sometimes you need pressure to temper your steel. And hey, one can't do anything on an empty stomach so I'd say it's a win-win in your situation.
@fairness
Yes, listen to what you normally don't can bring up a whole new perspective on things.
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