Where there's writing, there's writer’s block. It’s easy to look at your temporary lack of inspiration as some kind of indicator of your talent. But it’s important to realize that every artist, author, and creative curator has undergone a writer’s block. Don’t make a big deal of it when it happens to you, just try to shake up your routine a bit and you’ll be back to creating in no time. Here are 5 tricks that may help you get back to your session
Rework your workspace
Many artists refer to creating music as “capturing the magic in the room”. It becomes easier to hone in on said magic in a space that’s clear and already setup. If you have a home studio, spend some time before your next session cleaning your workspace. Remove clutter and unnecessary equipment. Put away items you don’t use frequently, and patch in pieces of gear that you use in every session, so you don’t have to waste time getting started once inspiration hits. Replenish pens/notebooks and localize everything you’d need for a session so you don’t have to get up a bunch once the next idea hits.
Reset the Mind, Flex the Body
Sometimes the best thing you can do in order to create is to temporarily stop creating. When you feel the weight of writer’s block creep up, try to get your creative mind to relax for a few minutes, while engaging the rest of your body. Take a walk, hit the gym for a cardio session, or simply stretch for a few minutes around your studio or outside. Do something physical that allows you to reset from the process of putting music together. It’ll give your ears a much needed break too.
With so many new gadgets releasing every few minutes, you probably have a piece of gear or two you haven’t used in a while. Use this time you have to go back to that old equipment with the knowledge you’ve (hopefully) acquired since the last time you used it. During a creative rut a few months ago, I pulled out my old Korg KP3 after it’d been sitting on the shelf with a busted mic input. Instead of thinking about it only as a live FX unit, I focused on the sampler that I’d been ignoring due to Ableton Live’s extensive sample toolkit. I plugged a portable turntable and old contact mic into the KP3 and in minutes I was saving tons of twisted glitches and samples that I can recall and bring into new tracks. The next time you’re stuck, ask yourself what gear haven’t you used in your collection in a while, and how can you use it differently?
Involve Other Musicians
Making music collectively is a great experience. DAWs, iOS apps, and pocket sized synths have made it easier than ever to do it solo, but part of what gels so many classic songs together is the fusion of the energy of collective performers. We all have our own personal timing and nuance, so bringing another person into the equation, lets our process get influenced by something else. Find a live musician and collaborate in person. If time or space doesn’t permit a physical collaboration, try exchanging sessions, or use a loop library that actually captures a live musician. That new external perspective on timing, swing and approach might be all you need to get over the hump.
Engage in Other Creative Mediums
One last thing I often try when I’m stuck is switching to a different creative outlet. Try watching a cerebral film, sketching something terribly in a notebook, taking photos, or anything else that is mentally or creatively stimulating, but not related directly to working on music. This is a chance to still engage the creative sections of your brain, while turning off some of the elements you use in making a song. If you really want to be efficient, think of artistic mediums that still help your career. Maybe shoot photos for promo/web art, or sketch a thank you to your followers on social media. If you always create or absorb art in some way, you never have to feel guilty about your progress as an artist. Allow time for inspiration, set time constraints, then get back to work!