Songwriter Tips: Overcome Writer’s Block for Good
Discover new ways to overcome writer's block and unleash your creativity as a songwriter. We offer pro tips and tricks from music makers inside Spotify to end your creative block and spark your songwriting process.
We’ve all been there. Locked up in the studio for the weekend, fully dedicated to create something amazing. Only to pick away at the synthesizer or rewriting lyrics for hours without anything igniting our creativity or catching our interest.
Writer's block can be a frustrating and challenging experience in songwriting, but believe us when we say that everyone goes through it — beginners and pros alike. But don’t let it discourage you, there are several tactics you can use to overcome it. And the better you get at implementing these tactics, the fewer blocks you will experience and the shorter they get.
We decided to ask around at the Spotify office and find out how our in-house producers and music makers deal with this big hurdle in music production that is writer’s block. Because it doesn’t matter if you’re a multi-platinum, grammy-winning songwriter — or just a DIY musician starting out, everyone can use innovative methods to loosen up the creative flow.
These are some of the tips we gathered from our team. Hopefully, it will help you get past your writer's block and back to writing incredible music in no time. If you're interested in learning more about the process of songwriting, visit our blog post about how to write a song.
1. Change your environment
This one is pretty obvious, but it’s also one of the most effective methods to get the creativity flowing. Sometimes a change of scenery can help stimulate underused senses and open up new compartments in the brain.
Bring some headphones and try making music in locations you don’t usually work in, such as a coffee shop, park, or even a different room in your house. If you’re going on a trip, bring your equipment and see if the new location gives you any inspiration.
2. Take a break
If you're feeling completely stuck, taking a break can be a helpful way to clear your mind and recharge your creative energy. Go for a walk, do some exercise, or engage in another activity that you enjoy, like hiking or going to the beach.
3. Consume other art forms
Reading a book, watching a movie, or attending a play can do amazing things for our creativity. If you feel you have nothing to say with your music, consuming art that’s not directly related to music can be very useful in tapping into your creative spirit.
4. Collaborate with other songwriters
Working with other songwriters can be a great way to generate new ideas and approaches to songwriting. Collaborating can also help you stay motivated and overcome creative blocks. Reach out to other songwriters in your network.
Try out Soundtrap as a tool for collaboration, which allows you to work with other musicians live and online, directly in the DAW.
Listening to other songs simultaneously
5. Listen to other songs simultaneously
Play 2-3 songs you like at the moment at the same time and listen out for any overlaps. These overlaps can help you find something really unique and interesting and inspire a whole new song. This technique has been used by some famous songwriters in the past to find fresh inspiration.
6. Experiment inside your DAW
Open up a new project in your Digital Audio Workstation. Drag in 3 instrument loops from 3 different genres (pop guitar/indie bass-lone/hip-hop drums) and begin by humming 3 different melodies over them.
This is something our in-house producers do to come up with new melodies for Soundtrap's sound packs and loop libraries. See if YOU can come up with any cool melodies by blending different genres together.
7. The postcard technique
This is a great way for coming up with lyrics in songwriting. Imagine you’ve taken a long trip to a new country and have 10 minutes to write a postcard to a loved one, what would you want to tell them after all this time? Keep it short and sweet so it can fit on a postcard. This postcard could be the rough draft of a new song and can work as the foundation for the lyrics.
8. Use writing prompts
Writing prompts can be a helpful way to jumpstart your creativity and get your creative juices flowing. Try using a random word generator or writing prompts to inspire new ideas. Open up your favorite playlist on Spotify and pick random words from some of the songs on there. This is a great way to come up with new lyrics for your song.
9. Don't be afraid to write a bad song
One of the biggest obstacles to songwriting is the fear of creating something that isn't good enough. Remember that every songwriter and artist has written bad songs, even terrible ones. This is a normal part of the creative process. Don't be afraid to write something that isn't perfect – each song you write is a stepping stone to creating better ones next time. Plus, you can always revise and improve your songs later.
To summarize, overcoming writer's block requires persistence, patience, and a willingness to learn and experiment with different tactics and techniques. With time and practice, you will develop the tools that work best for you and help you break through creative blocks.
Check out AmaZane's best tips for aspiring music makers.