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Artist Advice Column: How To Stay Creative & Beat Writer's Block Pt. 2

Make better music and fight through that writer's block with these tips.
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Last week, we opened up the discussion on how to enhance your creativity as an artist. We continue that series on how to be more creative or push through periods of writer’s block with five more ways to maximize your music making time. We know your time is precious and making music is what fuels you, so here are more ways to challenge yourself and potentially become a better artist.

6. Challenge Yourself When Writing:

Step outside of the box with your writing. Try a marathon session where you stay up for 24 hours and try and finish as many songs as possible during that time. Or you live stream an extended writing session on Facebook, which would keep you accountable. You can’t venture off to get food or play video games during that time. If you have trouble finishing songs and have loads of unused old ideas, go back and try and finish an idea. That may seem obvious, but choose an idea out of ten possible at random and go ahead and finish it as much as you can. Maybe it won’t be a demo you end up using, but it could be sold to somebody else or morph into a different song down the line and be much easier for you to use.

7. Watch documentaries on other artists:

You can read all of the tips from people like us online, but in the end the best advice you may get is from the people who have done it before. Unless you are going to get in a room with Paul McCartney, Dr. Dre, Rick Rubin, Jay-Z or Madonna, hearing what they have to say will probably only happen through various media sources. You can watch a documentary on these individuals or bands, of which there are many, and see their sources of inspiration, how they created songs and rose to fame. 

It is never easy and the success you see did not happen overnight. That lesson is something we all know, but it can be helpful to hear again. Seeing footage of a massive rock star playing a wedding or tiny rock club for 20 people will be a boost if you also have a gig like that later. Nobody starts out a star. You must create it. Seeing this can fuel you to go back and write something great with the icons in mind.

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8. Express Yourself in a Different Artistic Medium:

As musicians, music is your canvas, how you convey your feelings, your passion and your angst. However art is not just found in music. If you are stuck writing or producing music, try another medium to express yourself. Pick up something like painting, drawing, photography, graphic design or writing. Not only will this give you a new outlet to channel your creativity, but it could be useful for your career. Writing in other mediums like poetry or more free-flowing creative thought can open your mind to different ways or writing songs, photography can help with your social media or cover art and graphic design can be useful for artwork.

9. Read:

No we are not your school teacher or parents telling you to pick up a book. But reading is another way to expand your mind into new worlds. Reading non-fiction can grow your pool of knowledge on any topic you want -- inside the music industry or outside. The more you know, the more potential source material you have. Music doesn’t just have to be your personal experience. You can tell some other story. Reading fantasy can open your mind to new world that might make you more creative. There is a strong connection between hip-hop and comic books that has fueled some of the best around like Run DMC, MF Doom and Run The Jewels. Pick up a book and see where it might take you.

10. Change Studio Surroundings:

Now this may depend on your budget. Not every artist is going to have the budget to go on a vacation to a tropical paradise and write on the beach for three months. That is a world that only some artists can indulge in. However if your garage, your bedroom, your basement or some other room you have outfitted as your studio is starting to feel stale, then go somewhere else. It could be a trip to your nearest park or a weekend trip out of town. Get out of your own head and change your surroundings to try and draw new inspiration from a different city, town or outdoor space. If you can get into a new studio space, that is great, but go to somebody’s house or rent a place and work there for a day or two and see how your mindset changes. A change of scenery can work wonders.

If you are a electronic music producer, taking your computer to a park may seem a little odd, so adapt to your technological needs. However if you rearrange your studio or even choose a new room in the house to work in that might even give your routine a much needed boost. 

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