Are you curious about whether you have songwriters block – and what to do about it? Chances are, if you’re any kind of creative professional – be it a songwriter or a novelist – you’re going to struggle with writer’s block at some point in your career or another.
Fortunately, songwriting writer’s block is something you can conquer – and once you know how to deal with it, you’ll be able to continue writing creative, inspiring songs many years into your career.
In this post, we’ll tell you how to get rid of writer’s block for songwriters with our helpful songwriters block tips and tricks!
What is Writer’s Block in Music?
Writer’s block is anytime you feel stuck and overwhelmed by the prospect of writing. This term can refer to writing any kind of material at all, but in music, it’s known specifically as songwriter’s block.
If you’re suffering from songwriter’s block, you’ll likely experience some of the following feelings:
- You feel uninspired and exhausted
- Your recent efforts to create a song almost always end in unfinished songs
- You feel as though negative comments from others about your music have stopped you from feeling inspired and creative
- You are worried that you’ll disappoint others in your creations
- Your own songs sound boring
- All of your recent songs sound the same
Writer’s block isn’t exclusive to musical composition. Anybody who creates for a living can suffer from writer’s block – and it doesn’t mean your career as a songwriter is over. It just means you need to try something new!
Taking songwriting or singing lessons is one way you can beat songwriters block, but it’s certainly not the only option. Keep reading to learn more.
How Do I Get Rid of Songwriters Block? 13 Useful Songwriters Block Tips
Knowing how to get rid of writer’s block for songwriters is similar to how you would do it if you were any other type of writer. Here are some helpful songwriters’ block tips to help you break through the “blah” and start writing again!
1. Do a Little Every Day
The best songwriters are those who are committed to the craft. If you can, try to devote a bit of time every day to working on your songs. Even if it’s only five minutes right before you go to bed, you’ll likely find that jumping back into your songwriting is much easier if there hasn’t been a long period of time between your writing sessions.
2. Lower Your Standards as a Songwriter
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t always try to do your best. However, sometimes songwriter’s block strikes because we are being too hard on ourselves.
American poet William Stafford gives the advice “There is no such thing as writer’s block for writers whose standards are low enough.” Although Stafford is a poet, not a songwriter, the advice remains the same.
If you constantly find yourself listening to the critical voice in your head that says your writing is not good enough, you’re probably going to have a hard time writing anything at all (let alone anything good!) when you do get around to it.
Shut those voices off and just give it a try. Sure, the song might not end up being any good – but it could be a hit. What have you got to lose? Don’t be afraid to experiment.
3. Be On the Constant Lookout
Even if writing every day – or even once a week – isn’t an option for you, you can still be actively committed to your songwriting duties by remaining vigilant at all times. Bring a small notebook with you (or even the notes app on your iPhone) wherever you go and jot down things that might serve as inspiration later.
This could be snippets of a conversation you happen to hear, interesting thoughts you have while reading a book, or interesting movie lines. You can even use the voice memos app on your phone to record melodies! Keep an eye out for things that may inspire you – you never know what you’ll find.
4. Get Moving!
If you find yourself stuck and feeling uninspired, step back for a moment. Get some exercise in! It’s well-documented that physical activity helps inspire creativity and focus. It can make you concentrate better and even improve your overall cognition. Many writers find that getting a quick workout in – even if it’s just a quick walk around the block – is often enough to get rid of songwriters’ block.
5. Don’t Stay in One Place
Wait, we already gave you this tip, didn’t we? Not quite! This means something a bit different.
Just as physically moving your body around can be helpful to beat songwriting writer’s block, so, too, can skipping around to different parts of the song.
Try writing the chorus first, then the intro. Write the first verse, then the chorus. Do whatever works best for you. There are no rules when it comes to writing quality songs!
6. Start Other Songs
If you just can’t find the inspiration to work on the current song you have unfinished, put it down and work on something else. You may find that you have a brand-new perspective after finishing one song and moving on to the next.
7. Ignore the Audience
While you should always consider the needs and perspective of your audience when you are writing songs, it can sometimes be helpful to pretend that you AREN’T writing for a potential publisher or a specific audience.
Write for someone else instead – maybe you can write for your wife instead of your agent. This might help you come up with a new path for your song to take while also helping you keep the message of your song clear, concise, and to the point.
8. Play With Your Title and Song Structure
When inspiration fails to strike for the song itself, see if you can come up with a title. This can be a challenge in itself, but sometimes, the title will come to you naturally while the rest of the song doesn’t at first. If you can nail the title, the rest of the song may follow suit.
You can even come up with a loose structure for your song while you’re waiting for inspiration to strike in other areas. Check out this video for helpful tips on how you can do that:
9. Find Inspiration Elsewhere
Read a book. Watch a movie. Listen to other songs. Read songwriting quotes. This may provide you with the instant motivation you need to start writing!
10. Use Gibberish
This tip sounds a bit silly, but it can help. If you’re stuck with the lyrics, use gibberish to come up with the melody in the meantime. You can always plug in the real lyrics later.
11. Go Outside
If you’re feeling stuck as you sit at your desk, head outside for a bit. The fresh air (and perhaps conversations of those around you) may serve as all the inspiration you need to write your song.
12. Clean Up
Clutter can be distracting, especially when you’re trying to do something creative. Get rid of any physical or digital clutter wherever you’re trying to write – and shut your phone off while you work so you don’t keep getting distracted!
13. Take a Break
Finally, know that you don’t have to finish a song in one sitting. If you’re feeling stuck, step away and do something else. You can come back to the song later – and with a fresh perspective that might be just what the (songwriting) doctor ordered.
What to Do When You Have Song Writer’s Block? Take This Quiz!
Writing songs is hard enough work without having to deal with songwriters’ block! To help you find inspiration for your next song, we created this easy personality quiz.
Take the quiz and find out what your next hit single will be about…
Songwriting Writer’s Block: Frustrating, but Treatable!
If you’ve been struggling with songwriters block and aren’t sure how to break through it and start feeling inspired again, the truth is that no single one of these strategies for writer’s block songwriting will likely do the trick each and every time.
Instead, you will probably find that you need to employ a medley of strategies (like taking online music lessons!) in order to get the results you want.
Stick with it! Over time, you’ll learn how to keep yourself motivated – that way, you can keep writing songs even when you don’t have a clear idea in mind.
For more songwriting tips and songwriting prompts, check out our infographic guide 25 Ways to Break Free from Songwriters’ Block! Share your songwriting ideas, struggles, triumphs, and questions in the comments below.