Dealing with writers block – maybe you don’t have to? (by George Gleeson)
One thing every one of us can count on when trying to create music is writers block. This songwriting staple creeps up when you least want it to and can devastate your confidence, release schedule and even your cash flow; but only if you let it.
Here’s a scenario that quite a few of you will be familiar with – you’re in the middle of an album project and suddenly realize that there isn’t a lead single. The artist, manager and label team have decided to push the entire campaign forward early to coincide with an advertising campaign and you have two weeks less than you planned for. You take to the piano in a quiet state of panic, down a cup of coffee and… spend five hours writing absolute crap! Too many long days in front of the computer and not enough time actually living has left you stranded with nothing but compressor settings in your vocabulary. Every chord progression you play has already been recorded and every melody grates like a teachers fingers on a chalk board. Basically, you are fucked.
The most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying. - Steven Pressfield
Now there are two ways you could deal with this unavoidable situation (and it is unavoidable if you write a lot):
- Freak out. Provide yourself with a healthy dose of self-loathing and weigh up the option of starting a new career.
- Try something else.
What I mean by try something else is do something completely unrelated to the creation of music. Watch a film, go for a drink with friends, take a walk, play some sports or just have a nap; just do anything else than what you desperately need to do.
Obviously when this is your living you can’t just swan off and take an afternoon to run through a field of barley, but if you need to take a few hours to do something else.
Professionally speaking there is always something else you can be doing that is beneficial, for instance, what other aspects of your career have you been putting on the backburner? Are your taxes up to date? Have you got a clean working environment? Have you spent enough time talking to and supporting your friends who also do music? How is your social media looking? Have you planned out your goals for this week/month/year?
This small idea to try something else could solve your writers block in a couple of hours and put you back on track. I promise that time thinking about something else will allow your mind to process what is going on around you and in turn inspire you.
If you’re having writers block, just try something else.