Transform Your Rough Recordings Into Released Records, Even If You Only Have a Home Studio

Tips for Beating Writer’s Block

Writer’s block is the worst. It’s something that every creative has to deal with—but that doesn’t make it easy to beat.

Writer’s block can feel overwhelming at times. All you want to do is create but you end up wasting time and getting nowhere. You might even start to doubt yourself or believe that you’re not cut out for the music business.

It’s OK—we’ve all been there. That’s why we put together this list of helpful tips for beating writer’s block and staying creative in the studio. But first, let’s talk about what writer’s block actually is.

What Is Writer’s Block?

We’re all familiar with writer’s block—that stagnant, vacant feeling when you can’t come up with any new ideas no matter how hard you try. But why does it seem like sometimes the music flows right out of your fingertips, while others it feels like you don’t have a drop of creative juices left in your body?

What actually causes writer’s block?

That depends, but the short answer is discipline. Just like any skill, you have to practice.

Sometimes the time of day can cause writer’s block. Everybody is different—some of us are most creative while sipping our morning cup of coffee, while others prefer the solitude of working at night. Try to carve out space and make writing part of your routine—even for just 15 minutes a day. By writing every day, you can train your brain to write better material, faster.

Sometimes fear can cause writer’s block. Whether you’re afraid of what people might think of your music, or just afraid of not being able to create something you love, fear can be a huge hurdle for any writer. 

The trick is to learn to be OK with creating something that isn’t perfect. The first draft of your favorite song wasn’t perfect. It probably took hours of edits and rewrites to get it to where it is today. 

Have you ever heard the quote, “The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried?” Most of your songs won’t be your best songs. But the more you write, the better you’ll get at writing, so keep at it!

I’m aware that telling someone to write more when they ask how to beat writer’s block is kind of like telling someone to use their ears when they ask for mixing advice—so here are some more practical tips to beating writer’s block while you sharpen your writing skills.

Practical Tips For Overcoming Writer’s Block

Change your environment. Shake things up and get out of your studio for a little while. Grab your guitar and write a song on the beach. Or take your laptop to the local coffee shop for a change of scenery. You can even go sit on your front porch with a pen and paper or try writing melodies in the shower. Get creative!

Set realistic goals. You can’t expect to write Bohemian Rhapsody every time you sit down. Instead, set realistic goals for every songwriting session. If you’re working on a new song, focus on finding a chord progression or a melody you like. If you’re wiring lyrics, just try to finish one section. If you’re trying to finish a song, identify what it’s missing and set aside time to address each issue. By creating and achieving smaller goals, you’ll feel more productive and motivated.

Use a different instrument. Most of us have a go-to instrument for songwriting. Try taking a different approach and starting with another instrument. If you’re a guitarist, try writing an interesting drum groove. If you’re a keyboardist, try starting with a funky bass line. If you typically start with the chord progression, try writing the melody first. You never know where it will lead the rest of the song.

Don’t be afraid to get weird. If something isn’t working, turn it upside down. Switch the key of the song. Double the tempo, or cut it in half. Throw out your old templates and presets and break all of the rules. Do all of the things you’ve been taught not to do in music theory class!

Think inside the box. Yeah, you read that right. Ever heard of analysis paralysis? It’s a condition that renders you incapable of making decisions when faced with too many options—you know, like what happens every time you open up Netflix or try to decide where to go out to eat. 

Instead of wading through an endless sea of choices in search of inspiration, impose some rules on yourself. Commit to writing a song using only 3 chords. Throw darts at a board to choose a chord progression. Flip through the dictionary and select a word at random to include in your lyrics. By committing to working within these confines, you’ll force yourself to be more creative in order to find ways to make it work. 

Get in the zone. People tend to be more creative when they’re comfortable. That’s why it’s important to make your environment as conducive to creating as possible. Start by making sure you have all of the tools you need to create. Grab your favorite instrument, a notebook and a pen. Then it’s time to set the mood. Brew up a fresh cup of coffee or tea. Dim the lights and light a candle. Throw on a pair of sweatpants, hop in a comfy chair and let the hits flow.

Find inspiration in new places. We’re all guilty of listening to the same albums and artists over and over again. Expand your musical boundaries and listen to new music outside of your genre. You can also look for inspiration in other forms, like movies, paintings, books and poems. 

Collaborate with others. With so many tools for remote collaboration, it’s never been easier to make music with other people. Collaborating can be a great way to find inspiration, learn new tricks, and broaden your horizons. 

Eliminate all distractions. We live in a busy world. It can be difficult to get anything done with constant distractions—especially creative tasks. That’s why it’s crucial that you close the laptop, turn off wi-fi, and disable notifications when it’s time to create.

In fact, aren’t you supposed to writing right now? Yeah, that’s what I thought…  

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About me

About Audio Issues and Björgvin Benediktsson

We help musicians transform their recordings into radio-ready and release-worthy records they’re proud to release.

We do this by offering simple and practical music production and success skills they can use immediately to level themselves up – while rejecting negativity and gear-shaming from the industry. A rising tide floats all boats and the ocean is big enough for all of us to surf the sound waves.

Björgvin’s step-by-step mixing process has helped thousands of musicians confidently mix their music from their home studios. If you’d like to join them, check out the best-selling book Step By Step Mixing: How To Create Great Mixes Using Only 5 Plug-ins right here.