Songwriting Tips: Work From A Blank Space To Ditch Writer’s Block

blank_slate.jpgWriter’s block is often discussed as the inability to get started writing, but one portion of writers block that is spoken about less often is the kind you get when you’re trying to finish a song.  It always seems that one line or one musical part is holding up the whole tune.  Lyrically speaking, one way to battle this is to stop looking at what you’ve already completed.  Writers often spend so much time worrying about how things fit in with the rest of the composition that they lose creativity.  So in order to avoid this, if I am having trouble with a lyric I will often start on a blank page (ahem, I mean Word document) and just let ideas flow, without any concern of how they fit into the song.  This usually yields some pretty strange stuff, but there is almost always something from these sessions that allows me to go back into the song and formulate a part that will seal up the song properly.  Make sure you ignore as much of the previous material you’ve written as possible.  This can mean rhyme scheme, subject matter, etc. – at this stage just worry about the emotion you are trying to impart instead of how it’s all going to fit together.

From a musical perspective, this can translates into just jamming or trying to write completely different parts, even for another new song.  When we are trying to FORCE things to work it is often when we are the least creative.  It is important to get away from all the ideas you had been trying and only then can you see the song from a new perspective.  It’s one of the great Zen elements of songwriting: it is when you are trying the most to be creative that you will succeed the least.  Relax, stop worrying about the end goal so much and let the parts come to you.