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How To Get Past

Writer's Block

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Tip One: Give yourself a box to play in

Sometimes having too many options can be intimidating.

Try to give yourself a parameter to play in. Here are a few:
 

  • Use a random word generator to pick your songs title.

  • Write in a specific song form. There are endless ways to write, but sometimes having a predetermined structure will help you push forward. Here are a few of my favorites: AABA (Verse/Verse/Bridge/Verse), AAA (Verse/Verse/Verse), The Refrain (where you end every verse with the same line). The trick is to write the refrain first, then have the verses lead up to it.

  • Write from another gender's perspective

  • Limit the amount of words in each verse to 10 or less.

  • Write a song with two chords. Or go nuts and only use one!

"One chord is fine. Two chords are pushing it. Three chords and you're into jazz." - Lou Reed

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Tip Two: Time yourself:

The main reason I don't write seems to be a lack of time.

Try giving yourself a very short window to write. 

Set a timer for 15 minutes, and make yourself quit when it goes off. 

It may seem counter productive, but if you stop when you're full of good ideas, you'll be more likely to go back for more later.

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Tip Three: Finish your songs!

If you're like me, you've written half songs then given up when you get stuck.

 

This is a nasty habit.

 

One way to escape it is to force yourself to move on.

 

Give yourself a few days per song and make yourself "finish" no matter how bad the words are. When you're used to finishing songs you're less likely to get caught up halfway on them.

 

Remember there's an endless pool to draw from so there's no need to hold yourself back for the sake of one song.

“To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.”
-
Leonard Bernstein

Pink Cream

Tip Four: Mix it up!

If you're in a rut, and keep trying the same thing to escape,

maybe you should force yourself to try a different path.

  • If you usually write the lyrics first, start with the music

  • If you usually play guitar, try piano, or a cappella

  • If you usually write at night, try morning instead

  • Write in a different genre

  • Write in a different vocal register

  • Write in your head on a walk, instead of at home

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Tip Five: Join A Songwriting Group

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Joining a group of other ambitious songwriters is one of the best and most rewarding ways to improve your skills, make connections, develop new techniques, find cowriters, collaborate, and workshop new material.

Here are a handful of some of the best groups:

And lastly...

The very best tactic for writing more songs is simply to write more songs.

It may sound silly, but lowering the bar to wherever it needs to be will give you the tools to slowly raise that bar. So let go of that ego, and start finishing some songs!

“Make mistakes, make mistakes, make mistakes.
Just make sure they’re your mistakes.”

-Fiona Apple