Writers block from hell

Discussion in 'General Music Discussion' started by AStarlitNathan, Feb 17, 2013.

  1. AStarlitNathan

    AStarlitNathan ss.org Spammer

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    So I just recently left the band/project I'd been a part of for a year or so...
    I was the primary song-writer, and was asked to join for said skills...then everyone started side projects and started ignoring what was supposedly their "main focus" band...

    But it's cool, now I can take those songs, refine 'em and put them toward my awesome solo project, right?!

    ...right...

    Except I only have those two (and a halfish) songs, and new material isn't flowing out of me since I kind of had to put it on hold so the other members could catch up in the old band.

    I have a stock of old snippets and riffs and ideas...but it's stuff I'm not feeling...
    Some of that stuff harks back to my "OMG ATREYU WRITES THE BEST RIFFZ" days, so I don't want to use a whole lot of it, especially since I feel like it's not really writing and is just arranging.

    So I've decided to take a bit of time off, practice hard and focus on school, etc.
    Created a playlist of stuff that I'm digging on/have pulled influence on/want to pull influence off of

    But... I'm still feeling stuck.

    anyway
    tl;dr

    I have writers block, what do you guys do to get over it? or do you just wait it out?
     
  2. Nile

    Nile Giver of the Likes

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    Wait it out.

    Sometimes it doesn't work, just have to wait.
     
  3. AStarlitNathan

    AStarlitNathan ss.org Spammer

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    but the waiting game sucks! haha

    I know it'll pass, either by my own doing or by time, but i've just never had block last this long.

    hopefully my creativity won't die and I won't have to get a real job or something ;)
     
  4. Splinterhead

    Splinterhead Sojourner Contributor

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    Writers block does suck.
    If you start putting undo pressure on yourself you're apt to make it worse. Its best to relax and maybe get some new perspective. A lot of different types of things can create the spark of creativity. For me its listening to new music, maybe checking out a movie or even reading a great book. Expose your brain to new and different stuff and you'll break out of it.:yesway:
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2013
  5. concertjunkie

    concertjunkie SS.org Regular

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    it feels like when i have a question or a problem i run into (musically), it seems the first thread in ss.org that my eyes fall on, is EXACTLY what i am going through / needed to see.

    in times like these, i found that i should try to learn some songs that challenge me / i enjoy to get something goin on with my fingers.. and open up Guitar Pro / play with a metronome with different tempo settings and see what sticks

    you cant force creativity (forcing tends to lead to suckage) but you can at least do something, learn something or build on technique or play something out of your own element / try something new (like try to play acoustic and sing) to hopefully steer some gears in the right direction

    good luck!
     
  6. avinu

    avinu SS.org Regular

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    Maybe try out some new scales?
     
  7. DSilence

    DSilence SS.org Regular

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    Go listen to a genre you wouldnt normally listen to like I dunno, jazz or bob marley, & chill out for a bit. I found it was a waiting game for me too.
     
  8. AStarlitNathan

    AStarlitNathan ss.org Spammer

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    Yeah I'm sure the anxiety of writing isn't helping.

    I got (seriously) into Zelda finally, about 10 years later than the rest of my generation... also going back through and playing the old Final Fantasies... and those have great stories and music so hopefully that'll help.

    I'll post one of the revised songs I did tomorrow just for kicks and see what anyone thinks of it.
     
  9. AStarlitNathan

    AStarlitNathan ss.org Spammer

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    I've been thinking about structuring this period to use it as a time to really build myself and potential repertoire:

    learn songs I like/every guitarist needs to know (free bird, here I come...)

    practice technique

    build lick vocabulary

    work on improv skeelz

    try writing songs wayyy outside of comfortable genre/ strict guidelines (like only in 3/4,7/8, stay in major key etc.)

    I'm sure building my technique back up will certainly help, because that means more time with an axe in my hand.



    though, time away from music can't hurt either... gives me time to work out so I can wear my clothes again and to pass my classes haha.
     
  10. AStarlitNathan

    AStarlitNathan ss.org Spammer

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    I have a tendency to come to SS.org with all my life decisions haha.
     
  11. JohnIce

    JohnIce Singlecoil Enthusiast

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    Songwriting is kind of a vicious circle really, because the better you get at it the higher your expectations become, but the two don't always grow at an equal pace. So there will be times when you write a better song than you expected, but also times when your expectations are simply higher than your skill level. I've sort of started to think that writer's block occurs in those moments, due to unnecessarily high expectations and insecurity. You think that all your ideas are shit and that makes you doubt yourself as a songwriter. And you're grasping blindly for anything that could sound cool but you have no idea what that would be, just hoping you'll recognize it when it appears to you. That's not an efficient way of dealing with any creative project.

    For me it helps to always define my expectations. Because how else can you know what you're aiming for, and which direction you should work towards? Is this song going to be a radio song, or an experimental song, or a 12-minute epic? What genre, and how would I define that genre? What sort of beat do I want, what style of riffing? Am I writing for a set live band, or is it a Soundcloud-only project where anything goes?

    Let's say I wanted to write the ultimate radio hit, with a four-on-the-floor drum beat, a Rammstein-esque mix with a chorus like Livin' On A Prayer. And I want to have an exotic, maybe Phrygian vibe in it as well. Great, that's a narrowed down, well-defined image of what you expect to get out of the song you're going to write. You know exactly what to do, so just roll up your sleeves and start checking off the above elements one by one.
     
  12. abandonist

    abandonist Banned

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    Listen to Motown records.
     
  13. firegardenmusic

    firegardenmusic Progger

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    Watch movies, listen to new music may be listen to other stuff that you are not into like Folk, classical, other instruments like piano, sax etc etc.

    Reading short stories and try to write based on those will polish your skills.

    Zee
     
  14. m3l-mrq3z

    m3l-mrq3z Banned

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    Why do you want to write music so bad? Use this time to pursue alternative endeavours that may or may have to do with music.
     
  15. tripguitar

    tripguitar Settler of Catan

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    although i havent tried it yet i did come up with an idea to help me with my own writer's block. i'll share it with you.

    take a really crazy movie, something visually unique. I like to go with trippy weird stuff like Valhalla Rising, or Beyond the Black Rainbow, or Enter the Void. even something like Inception could work because of all the crazy visuals.

    anyway, the point is... put the movie on, mute the sound. forget the story and the dialogue and whatever, just watch the images and let that influence your riffs. you could try writing a 'cliffnote' style soundtrack for it, or just use it for keeping yourself in a certain 'mood'

    I personally will try this with Valhalla Rising - because it's a dirty violent and semi trippy kinda movie.

    anyway, hope it helps!! and if you do try this, let us know how it goes!
     
  16. m3l-mrq3z

    m3l-mrq3z Banned

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    One of the worst movies ever
     
  17. Adam Of Angels

    Adam Of Angels The GAS Man

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    Simple:

    You joined the band because the other guys recognized your writing ability, which boosted your ego and made you feel like you not only could write well, but had to write well.. And that's how it happens. You have to keep with the mentality that you're always in a position of exploration and learning. The more open you are to growth and discovery as a musician, the more creative you'll be. Almost seems counterintuitive, but it's the only way.

    Edit: the key is, you absolutely HAVE to be open to making mistakes or writing mediocre/outright bad material. The creative process has to be a flow of ideas, not a process of criticizing everything that comes out until something comes along. If you do that, the criticism will kill your creativity indefinitely.
     
  18. rythmic_pulses

    rythmic_pulses Schmuck

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    Writers block is usually broken when you change something about your life and/or way of thinking about writing.

    Forcing anything out will always sound like shit and will often get thrown in the "Riff Bin" I write stuff all the time, but I never use any of it because the riffs are either "Too Soft" or "Too Dark" for my band, I like a good middle ground, when I joined the band I'm in now, that's when my writers block was extinguished.
     
  19. goldsteinat0r

    goldsteinat0r Zib Zob Zabbity

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    When I have issues coming up with something cool I usually will just program a simple drum loop (first rhythm that comes to me) and come up with some parts on the spot (like, I don't allow myself more than a few minutes to compose everything - goal is not to overthink it), then I throw it into ableton and add whatever fun overdubs I want to make it flow and sound coherent. Nine times out of ten I come up with something resembling a decent song, and it helps "jump start" the creative process for me. YMMV obviously since this is such a person-specific thing.

    Also don't put pressure on yourself...even some of the greatest songwriters on earth have huge dry spells sometimes.

    EDIT: I should also add that my default style is like 90s hard rock basically. Riffs and stomping grooves....I'm not one of you people who can play the meedly meedly stuff.
     
  20. SkullCrusher

    SkullCrusher SS.org Regular

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    Dont play to write

    Just have a play.

    Then capture it as it comes.
     

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