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Songwriting Dry Spell: How do I get out of it?


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  • Songwriting Dry Spell: How do I get out of it?

    Because of "outside" factors (1) changing drummers from a really good creative drummer to an average one, and (2) the bass player's new habit of trying to change my songs before he learns them, I've been in a dry spell creatively lately.  I'm just not inspired by the band like I was.  Is there anything that I can or should do to get the creative juices flowing again?  Or should I just take a break from trying to write for a while?  Any thoughts that you might have would be greatly appreciated.


  • #2

    I've been practicing my instruments and playing covers.

    Lyrics Songs Demos Videos Covers Dj Facebook Tumblr

    Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.

    -Coco Chanel


    • Lee Knight
      Lee Knight commented
      Editing a comment



      It's really fun and sort of forces you to step up and present an idea. Or 10. Here's a case in point. I've been dry lately myself. So my sometime collaborator shows me a song that's finished but not done. He wrapped it up but knows it's not right. So as I listen I'm thinking, "Yep, I can get 10 ideas for this". Then he left and I didn't. so the day of our next meeting I don't have anything. Nothing. An hour to go before he shows. I force myself to sit down and work on the section that's bugging both of us. 


      An hour later I had several good ideas to present and volley back and forth. All because I owe it to the partnership. I'd say try your bass player. Wouldn't it be awesome if he ended up having great ideas?

  • #3

    It's the most mysterious thing - how and why the inspiration comes and goes.  No one I think gets to miss out on these ups and downs. The muse is fickle - she calls to you all the time, but runs off when you chase her.  


    So yeah, taking a break sometimes is the thing to do.  Sometimes you just need to work a different part of the brain - do something else - make something with wood, or do math problems, or read a novel by someone you've never read anything by, write a letter you don't intend to send, go to the art museum, watch the Godfather movies, go have coffee in a nearby town, or just drive around at 30am and look at your surroundings in unfamiliar quiet moonlight.


    Who knows what will actually work, but the idea is to just stir the pot, bring up whatever's been stewing at the bottom.  


    nat whilk ii


    • LCK
      LCK commented
      Editing a comment

      Set aside a particular time of day where you have at least of couple of hours, and sit in a room with a guitar or piano, and do nothing. Turn off the phone, the computer, the TV, the radio. Just sit there in silence. And wait.

      Wait for what?

      Till you're so bored you decide to entertain yourself by writing a song.

      Kids make up songs all the time, usually when they're bored...

      That's one theory, anyway...

  • #4

    Change your approach. 

    If most of your songs are based on riffs then try to write a song without a riff. If most of your songs are based on chord progressions then try to write a song based on a riff. 

    Use different chords and chord inversions than you normally use. If you use a lot of complex chords try using basic chords. If you use mostly basic chords try more complex chords.

    Write in different keys than you would normally write in and try different modes like Dorian or Mixolydian and modulate. Maybe your bridge should be in a minor key while the rest of the song is in a major key. Maybe you could modulate up a half step towards the end of the song or change modes in the middle.

    Try a different instrument than you normally write on or approach your main instrument differently. If you write on the piano then play notes with your left hand that you wouldn't normally play based on the chords of your right hand. If you write on guitar learn how to play in different keys up and down the neck with open strings ringing. 

    Combine ideas. Maybe that riff or chord sequence you wrote two years ago but could never develop into a song might make a good bridge for a different song. 

    Creativity is mostly about experimenting and trial and error and not doing the same things over and over again.