Writer’s block sucks, but when it ends it’s AWESOME!

RevDrucifer

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tl;dr- You can’t force creativity. There’s a cool metal song at the bottom.

From 2015-2021 I wrote more music and had more creative output than the previous 21 years of playing in original bands. I had built a small home studio and was writing/recording an album, constantly writing as I taught myself how to mix. It was my favorite musical period of my life.

Then last year my marriage tanked and it tanked hard. When I got my apartment, I got a 2 bedroom because I needed to set my studio up. I completely assumed that once I got here I’d go right back to writing like. a maniac, or even more than I ever did before because I had PLENTY of shit in my head to get out. I bought a TON of gear after selling my house, I had everything I needed to do whatever I wanted in my studio.

And I couldn’t write a fuckin’ thing. There was just no motivation to go through the work. I’d noodle on my couch and record some videos of riffs I dug, but that was it. I tried forcing it a few times and that never turns out well. I was in therapy that whole time, meditating 3x a day, eating healthy, I wasn’t depressed at all; even well after I was done reeling from the divorce and was happy as a pig in shit, even had a new relationship, but nothing was coming out.

Then finally, on September 15th, the day after what would have been my wedding anniversary, something felt different. I couldn’t wait to get in my studio and I’ve been in there every day since. I have multiple songs I‘m working on and it’s like a flood. If this keeps up, this will quickly become my favorite musical period in my life.

I really think it just has to pass on it’s own. I’ve tried forcing it, buying something to inspire me, gave myself deadlines, none of it mattered. I still played every day, but it was just noodling on my couch. Writing was a whole other story.

I banged this one out over the last week, if ya dig Alice In Chains, Lamb Of God and….I dunno, metal in general, ya might digs-



For the gear guys-
Rhythm: Solar E-type, AxeFX III, Mark IIC++ on one side, Splawn Nitro on the other
Lead- Ibanez JEM JPIIC+ model
Bass- Spector Pulse/AxeFX
Vocals- SM7B, barely used headphones to track this, just sitting 3 feet in front of my monitors
Drum-SD3 and about a week of programming
 

wheresthefbomb

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Fuck yeah my dude, very happy for you. I know all too well the frustration of not being able to realize that impulse, my congratulations.

Inspiration is always such an ephemeral thing. When it's there, it's the easiest thing in the world to reach out and grab it and follow the thread as far as it goes, but when it's not there's no forcing it. I feel a lot more inspired about drawing and various conceptual practices than I have about music recently, but it feels good to be pursuing that impulse regardless.
 

p0ke

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And I couldn’t write a fuckin’ thing. There was just no motivation to go through the work. I’d noodle on my couch and record some videos of riffs I dug, but that was it. I tried forcing it a few times and that never turns out well. I was in therapy that whole time, meditating 3x a day, eating healthy, I wasn’t depressed at all; even well after I was done reeling from the divorce and was happy as a pig in shit, even had a new relationship, but nothing was coming out.

Then finally, on September 15th, the day after what would have been my wedding anniversary, something felt different. I couldn’t wait to get in my studio and I’ve been in there every day since. I have multiple songs I‘m working on and it’s like a flood. If this keeps up, this will quickly become my favorite musical period in my life.

I really think it just has to pass on it’s own. I’ve tried forcing it, buying something to inspire me, gave myself deadlines, none of it mattered. I still played every day, but it was just noodling on my couch. Writing was a whole other story.

I'm in pretty much the exact same situation. No divorce or anything, but I just can't write anything. I've been through periods where I didn't play or write anything for a while, and then at some point the urge to do it would just come back again. This time it hasn't happened yet. Sometimes I noodle around and even start up my DAW, but once I start thinking about what to record I just go totally blank. It'll pass, I'm not worried about that in the slightest, but it's a bit annoying that it hasn't happened yet.

Congrats for getting your inspiration back. That song sounds pretty good too, I particularly liked the vocals. You mentioned AIC in there but somehow I still didn't expect the vocals to sound like that :)
 

RevDrucifer

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I'm in pretty much the exact same situation. No divorce or anything, but I just can't write anything. I've been through periods where I didn't play or write anything for a while, and then at some point the urge to do it would just come back again. This time it hasn't happened yet. Sometimes I noodle around and even start up my DAW, but once I start thinking about what to record I just go totally blank. It'll pass, I'm not worried about that in the slightest, but it's a bit annoying that it hasn't happened yet.

Congrats for getting your inspiration back. That song sounds pretty good too, I particularly liked the vocals. You mentioned AIC in there but somehow I still didn't expect the vocals to sound like that :)

After this experience I know for the future not to worry; it’ll come back when it’s ready to!

I had PLENTY of stuff to record; I have an entire album’s worth of music in demo form I could have spent time re-recording the final guitars/bass, but I just had no motivation to do it. I spoke about it in therapy quite a bit and I could write about 10 paragraphs on why I think it occurred with me but I’ll save that for another time.

And yeah, Layne is my favorite singer of all time and those harmonies….I’ve gotten my balls busted a lot over the years for putting it in my own music, but IDGAF, I LOVE that shit.
 

TheBolivianSniper

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yeah dude that song was straight fire, like seriously I wanna put it on a playlist bc I was not expecting it to be both that perfectly clean and such a good listen, ofc everyone here makes good music but DAMN you should put that somewhere people can see hardcore

I just finished my first ever demo track to take for vocals and mixing and while it's not the cleanest or coolest thing I'm happy with it and it's the result of months of work

getting past that hurdle and dropping everything when I've got free time to go record has really been what's gotten the song done
 

RevDrucifer

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yeah dude that song was straight fire, like seriously I wanna put it on a playlist bc I was not expecting it to be both that perfectly clean and such a good listen, ofc everyone here makes good music but DAMN you should put that somewhere people can see hardcore

I just finished my first ever demo track to take for vocals and mixing and while it's not the cleanest or coolest thing I'm happy with it and it's the result of months of work

getting past that hurdle and dropping everything when I've got free time to go record has really been what's gotten the song done

Thanks, brother!

I was working on an album for a few years as I taught myself to record/mix and then that year of writer’s block kicked in, I’m not sure how I want to go about releasing/promoting it at this point. I might just scrap all those older songs and leave them behind….some are 7 years old now.

I had PLENTY of free time in the last year as a result of the writer’s block! :lol:

It does feel great to finish something, though. There’s always something in every song I finish where I say “Man, I should have done this or that”, but I just think of it now as “Well, I didn’t get it done with this one, there’s always the next!” or else I’ll keep tweaking it or adding parts.

Post your work when you’re done, brother!!!
 

nightlight

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This is awesome, dude. Looks like you kicked writer's block to the mat. More than anything though, I like how pissed off the vocals sound. Good stuff!
 

tom schelfaut

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Good for you man, no better feeling than feeling inspiree and seeing things coming together! When I get stuck I sometimes leave the song or riff for months, but then all of a sudden it can hit me!
 

RevDrucifer

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Good for you man, no better feeling than feeling inspiree and seeing things coming together! When I get stuck I sometimes leave the song or riff for months, but then all of a sudden it can hit me!

I’ve been stuck before and have plenty of songs I’ve had to let go of for a while, this was something entirely different where I just had no motivation or inspiration to create a damn thing. That was nearly as shitty feeling as the divorce itself. :lol:
 

TheBolivianSniper

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well I come to this thread for advice

my vocals suck and I just cranked out another song I'm happy with but the vocals are just so weak and breathy and garbage these songs cannot be finished, there's no one in the area that could/would do the tracks or the delivery I want

what do
 

works0fheart

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well I come to this thread for advice

my vocals suck and I just cranked out another song I'm happy with but the vocals are just so weak and breathy and garbage these songs cannot be finished, there's no one in the area that could/would do the tracks or the delivery I want

what do

Post your instrumental versions of songs in various places and mention that you're looking for someone to do vocals over it. Either that or find someone that isn't crazy famous that you like the vocals of and throw them a few bucks to put over them. Within the metal community this shouldn't be too hard, but I can't really say that with a straight face since I've had the same problems somewhat.
 

RevDrucifer

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well I come to this thread for advice

my vocals suck and I just cranked out another song I'm happy with but the vocals are just so weak and breathy and garbage these songs cannot be finished, there's no one in the area that could/would do the tracks or the delivery I want

what do

That’s a really broad topic to jump into because of the variables involved. I’ll tell you up front that I’ve been singing for over 20 years now and it wasn’t until the last 5 that I started feeling comfortable with myself. I actually blew my throat out at one point and had to quit singing entirely for 2 years then re-learn everything.

I really won’t even get into discussing vocal techniques because I’m not qualified to do so and I’d never want to be the cause of something injuring their throat. But I will say there’s a HUGE smoke and mirrors aspect to recording vocals and singing in general; the mic and compression do the heavy lifting, but it’s still worthless without a good performance.

IE- I barely get above speaking volume when I sing or scream, but on a recording or through a PA it sounds like I’m going full bore with volume. It’s just learning how to make the mic/compression work for you.

Spend some time figuring out your headphone mix, that was a huge one for me and ultimately, I’m more comfortable not even using headphones and just tracking right in front of the monitors. I maybe wore headphones for 1/4 of those vocal tracks, the rest were done just holding a 7B 3 feet in front of the monitors.

Getting vocals to sit right is a whole other rabbit hole. I use 3 main plug-ins for my vocals; CLA-76, CLA-Vocals and Butch Vig Vocals. In fact, that’s all I have on that song aside from some delay throws using Waves H-Delay…oh and there’s CLA-Echosphere on the clean vocals doing a bunch of delay/reverb. Butch Vig Vocals is mainly distortion, which evens out the grit in a scream without fully distorting it. CLA-Vocals is GREAT for getting a good sounding vocal with barely any tweaking, it really feels like cheating when I use it, but it works. The CLA-76 is just to squish the shit out of them so keep the dynamics even.


Unfortunately, time and effort are the only real ways to get there. Just keep at it and when you make progress, remember exactly what you used to get there. I have presets in Logic saved for most vocal sound I go for since I’m all over the place with singing styles, that’s a huge time saver.

If you want to shoot me the song I can take a listen later on and see if I can give any pointers or help in any way. [email protected]
 

tom schelfaut

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I’ve been stuck before and have plenty of songs I’ve had to let go of for a while, this was something entirely different where I just had no motivation or inspiration to create a damn thing. That was nearly as shitty feeling as the divorce itself. :lol:
I've experienced that as well... just quit the guitar for a while, crazy as it may seem... fuck around with other instruments, no matter if you can really play them. If the creative bug lives inside you it's bound to come out somehow ;)
 

RevDrucifer

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I've experienced that as well... just quit the guitar for a while, crazy as it may seem... fuck around with other instruments, no matter if you can really play them. If the creative bug lives inside you it's bound to come out somehow ;)

That was the interesting thing, about 6 months into it I couldn’t stop playing. I still LOVED the feeling of playing, I just had no creative output.

Vai said this in one of his pandemic live streams, I’m paraphrasing, but - “You’re going to hit a point where you’ll have writer’s block and it can be extremely frustrating, it happens to me too, but when it’s ready to come back, be ready for it because it’s not going to stop and you just need to ride that wave as long as you can.”

He’s not wrong at all, once I got that song out I had 3-4 more started within the next couple of days that I’ve been hitting up daily. And I’m seeing him tonight!
 


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