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How do you overcome writers block?


djowens123

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Hi, when inspired to write, i tend to write many songs at the same time. I will start with one and if i don't finish it, i will go on to another then another and then start to back-track on the one's that need finishing. Over the years i have found this to be more productive rather than spending all night trying to finish every song there and then. It isn't a cure for writers block but it does give you the option of continuing to write whist your in the mood without trying to find just one more verse etc on just the one song. Sometimes just taking a break from a song can do you the world of good when you return to it.

 

In short, i write in rotation to help overcome writers block for certain songs. How about you? Any thoughts?

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I agree with Monket. I go through spurts. Sometimes I try to recollect feelings to help me write a song, but mostly it's when the moment comes to you.

 

I could go months without writing anything, then I'll write 10 songs in a few weeks. It is completely dependant on my mood and inspiration.

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The above ...

 

Plus, there are other things in songwriting you can do while waiting for your muse to return.

 

You can organize your bits and scraps of partial songs. You can rewrite rough lyrics of existing songs. You can produce up riffs and fills in existing songs.

 

My muse has been basically having her way with me this last year but at some point she will get tired and I'll have TONS of stuff to work on before she returns again.

 

There's a lot of parts of songwriting that require work and dedication when the inspiration is slow.

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I've basically come to the conclusion that writers block is a myth - Either that or it's too vague a term to be useful. You have to examine yourself and figure out a more precise way of describing it.

 

For example: If I'm running on a sleep deficit for too long I probably won't be writing. Writers block = fatigue.

If I'm really busy I probably won't be writing: Writers block = lack of time and focus.

If I'm worried about something: Writers block = distracted/preoccupied.

 

The previous advice, from bodyguard2112 was great. "There's a lot of parts of songwriting that require work and dedication when the inspiration is slow."

 

To that I would add something similar to what Chicken Monkey said:

Keep writing anyway .... and .... don't worry about it. Just keep working. You have to keep yourself honed and ready for the times when inspiration and circumstance hit.

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I find taking a break and doing something completely different helps a lot. Get your mind focused on something completely different. And I mean don't watch tv or a movie or something - I find my mind drifting during movies and running through chord progressions!:facepalm:

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Keep writing anyway .... and .... don't worry about it. Just keep working. You have to keep yourself honed and ready for the times when inspiration and circumstance hit.

 

 

When I worked in landscaping, I never got "digger's block". When I worked at the pizzeria, I never got "deliverer's block". "Writer's block" is just self-indulgence.

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I stopped writing for 10 years. Writer's block seemed real to me then. I suppose you can play semantic games and give it a different label like "became disillusioned" or "fell out love with music" or "didn't feel like honing the crap that was coming out my ass".

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When I worked in landscaping, I never got "digger's block". When I worked at the pizzeria, I never got "deliverer's block". "Writer's block" is just self-indulgence.

 

 

When I worked as a advertising writer, we weren't allowed to have writers block and all our time was billed back to the client, so we could have any frivolous time wastage either else we couldn't bill it. It also couldn't suck because if we didn't produce at least moderately quality work, we might end up loosing the account.

 

I also wrote as a columnist for a couple magazines -- I had writers "block" there, but it quickly went away as the deadline loomed closer (and some of my best work was finished at the last minute and I was the least satisfied with). If I didn't provide the copy as promised I would no longer have the column.... (and the associated paycheck, as paltry as sum as it was).

 

It's amazing that writers block can disappear when your food and rent depends on it.

 

Now that I'm trying to pick up song writing again after 15 years (I was much more naive and less intimidated by it years ago), I find I'm online here instead of picking up that guitar and working on that next refrain.... Is that writer's block or just procrastination..... :lol:

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When it hits me, I don't play for a while, get out, do "stuff" and then the intense drive comes back. Often times when I take a break, it makes everything more "in the moment feeling". Or, I just work on technique and scales...

 

 

When I worked in landscaping, I never got "digger's block". When I worked at the pizzeria, I never got "deliverer's block". "Writer's block" is just self-indulgence.

 

 

Though I'd argue, you don't need much inspiration to wield a shovel.

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I've never really had writer's block. I've had trouble coming up with the next line in a song, or the perfect rhyme. In those cases, I usually either skip the troublesome spot to come back to it later or rewrite the parts that came before.

 

I don't write songs because I want to. I write songs because I need to.

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When I worked as a advertising writer, we weren't allowed to have writers block and all our time was billed back to the client

 

 

i currently work as a copywriter for an ad agency, and i think it's different than songwriting. copywriting is a craft, a skill, and one with decreasing value in the market, but i find (as you suggested later in your post) that deadlines are the key to breaking writer's block, if i know a spot has to be ready to go to production by X, and that it needs approval from Y and Z first, i can hear the clock ticking and that always gets my heart pumping and good words flowing. but i'll always procrastinate and let it go undone until i'm right on the razor's edge.

 

with songwriting, there's no deadline. there's no concequences for failure to produce. for me it Feels very different to write a radio commercial in my cube than to stay up all night with my guitar and my cat writing a song while my poor lovely wife tries to sleep. the latter is definitely more satisfying.

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One thing I like to do when presented with the issue, "What do I write about?".

 

Listen. Listen to a Terry Gross interview on NPR's Fresh Aire. Eavesdrop on the couple sitting at the next table. Listen to what your Dad says on the phone, those old out of date sayings, listen to the horrible puns the newscasters use.

 

I don't mean to take note when you hear something good. I mean, actively look for something good. Go out and listen. It's the same concept as reading. That works too of course. But I like to actively listen. Listen to CSPAN and the latest catch phrases politicians use and turn them upside down.

 

Grab a pad and pencil and go out and listen. Yesterday I heard an interview on Fresh Aire. Terry Gross asked the writer guest, "You've written a book called Not Turning Into My Mother. You and your mother had issues. Do you ever concern yourself with the possibility that your child may have similar thoughts?

 

Her answer. "I think we have a much better relationship. We... um... I

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In short, i write in rotation to help overcome writers block for certain songs. How about you? Any thoughts?

 

 

I do that sometimes. Or sometimes I'll give myself a specific set of instructions.

 

Take the rhythm of the lead vocal line in S. Wonder's Superstitious...

 

Very superstitious

 

Take just that rhythm and use these 3 notes. Let's see, it was in a minor so we''ll pick some major stuff. OK, these three notes. Then I've got something entirely different. And most times I want to change it, so it isn't even the same rhythm anymore. And next thing I know I'm rolling with an idea for chords, melody and its rhythm.

 

And Stevie Wonder's song is miles away from where I'm going.

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Hi, when inspired to write, i tend to write many songs at the same time. I will start with one and if i don't finish it, i will go on to another then another and then start to back-track on the one's that need finishing. Over the years i have found this to be more productive rather than spending all night trying to finish every song there and then. It isn't a cure for writers block but it does give you the option of continuing to write whist your in the mood without trying to find just one more verse etc on just the one song. Sometimes just taking a break from a song can do you the world of good when you return to it.


In short, i write in rotation to help overcome writers block for certain songs. How about you? Any thoughts?

 

 

I don`t force it, thats for sure. When I`m going through a really dry period, I`ll turn to old lyrics I`ve written; most of which are unfinished songs. Sometimes, just a line will spark another song.

 

What has worked best for me is to simply write without judging it because I think judging our writing while we`re writing really kills the spirit of it so I`ll just write without stopping.

 

Just get the idea down, even if the lyrics are mostly mumble.

 

Then there are those times when everything I write is a keeper. Thats also when I pull out old unfinished lyrics and see if I can finish off something else.

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with songwriting, there's no deadline. there's no concequences for failure to produce. for me it Feels very different to write a radio commercial in my cube than to stay up all night with my guitar and my cat writing a song while my poor lovely wife tries to sleep. the latter is definitely more satisfying.

 

 

And that's the troublesome spot I'm in right now... working on three songs simultaneously over the past few months not actually getting much further each week, looking for new ways to procrastinate .... hey look, if I learn cubase I could really capture what I'm trying to express.... hey, look a fly... let's clean my guitars again and maybe that might inspire me.....

 

I'm no longer an ad writer, I make my living as an IT guru now (pays more). I did have one campaign go national, but that was after I left the company (sucks for me I guess).

 

Playing in a a band 15 years ago, I wrote songs to completion or near completion where we'd get together and finish them. There wasn't any reason to procrastinate -- we were looking as a group for ideas, and even a riff could start something flowing in a jam session.

 

Now, writing by myself (something I've taken up after a decade of barely playing, except for a brief stint doing tin-pan-alley Irish and Scottish folk arrangements) I have a hard time finishing anything -- but that's because now I'm afraid of suckage, where almost two decades ago I was young, naive and didn't care. I guess you can call that writers block, but I call it intimidation and procrastination.

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