Artist Advice Column: How To Stay Creative & Beat Writer's Block Pt. 1

Creativity is the lifeblood how musicians make great music. Unlocking it is the key to any great career. We are here to help you with that.
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Creativity is the lifeblood how musicians make great music. Without it, they are stuck rehashing the same things over and over again. However, there will be times when creativity doesn’t come. No matter how much you stare at your computer screen, strum your guitar, hit the keys on your piano, nothing worthwhile happens. Writer’s block can be crippling mentally for you as an artist. However, you don’t need to allow it to defeat you. There are many different ways to try and increase your creativity, get back to writing great and better music. We are here to help you with that.

1. Get out of the studio and exercise in some form:

This may seem somewhat obvious, but just bashing your head against a wall isn’t going to work. Everybody needs a break from creating. Yes you have heard about 24, 48 or even 72 hour marathon sessions that have led to some amazing work. But those are the exception, not the rule. Also that is when people are in the zone. If you are struggling, forcing yourself into a corner for hours won’t help. Try getting out and clearing your mind with some exercise, yoga or even meditation. This can help reset your thinking and potentially get more out of what you do. If I am feeling a bit off, or my head is feeling muddled, going for a run can clear everything up and help getting right back to work. Even if it is just a walk, get out and do something with your body. It will be good in the long run.

2. Go out and see live music:

Seeing other people perform can be a great way to get out of your own head and find inspiration for yourself. This doesn’t have to be some major artist, though that is always an option. You can just pop into some small jazz or rock club and see who is playing that night. Get lost in the music for a couple of hours and forget about your own personal struggles for a few hours to see if you can take away a few interesting techniques from the person you are watching. Take that back to your studio, apply them and maybe something new will come from it. This may not develop into the break through you are looking for, but seeing somebody else’s approach to music could help you see things with fresh eyes.

3. Listen to Different Genres of Music:

This may seem obvious if you don’t listen to much music in the genre you make, but listening to different genres can open your mind to different production techniques, ways of creating and instrumentation. Sticking your head too deep into your field can give you tunnel vision. If you open up, you can draw inspiration from elsewhere and maybe decide you want to do a crossover track, or collaborate with someone in a different field of music. Unexpected collaborations can be some of the best and can jumpstart careers as well.

4. Turn Off The Distractions:

Yes it seems like more and more of the music business is about social media, marketing and numbers more than it is the actual product you create, but you are a musician. Your job is to make music. While you are in the studio, if you are having trouble, turn off your wifi, turn off your phone and just hone in on your music. Shut out the outside world and just concentrate on yourself. Maybe let your manager know or whoever might contact you in an emergency, you are going to do this in case they get worried, but otherwise just go ahead and do it. Potentially make this a weekly ritual. That way you aren’t checking your Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and browsing the web aimlessly in between takes and losing valuable time when you could have maybe had a good idea.

5. Collaborate More:

If you are a band, you may not want to collaborate with people, but for singers, songwriters and producers, this could be a great way to unlock creativity if you are used to working alone in your room in a studio. Not all sessions are going to work, but trying to work things out on your own won’t always work. Even if it is just bouncing ideas off of somebody else who is a professional and they give some honest feedback, that can give you a new perspective on a song. If you are in a band, bringing in a new singer, a writer or a different producer can give you a fresh idea on how to write a song. Don’t be afraid to call in outside help and work with others. Some of the best ideas come when people work together. Music isn’t a competition, work together and maybe they will be inspired by working with you as well. 

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