If you’ve ever been in a creative rut, you know how nerve-wracking the process can turnout to be. No matter if you’re working towards a deadline, in a location that doesn’t ignite your imagination or if it’s a simple mood – sometimes your creative output just doesn’t come together.
To help you out of this tricky mode, I’ve collected a bunch of pointers that help me out when I’m digging for songs.
Let’s hit some quantity to generate quality today. Here are 24 pointers to end your creative rut:
Reframe the problem
Try not to think of a deadline as a moment where you have to deliver – think of it as a chance to demonstrate what you’re art is all about. Reframe the problem you’re in. You’re not stuck because you’re unable – you’re not stuck at all. All of the ideas are already in your head, you just have to give them a nudge to wake them up
Introduce a new variable
Try mixing something up. Write in sonnet-form. Make yourself write beyond the boarders of your 4/4 bar. Think of you’re song as an essay, and the goal is to formulate a compelling line of thought.
Be bold as hell
Ask yourself what the strongest position and meaning is, that you in a given song, could occupy. Go for that meaning, even if it differs from the norms of your usual topics.
Change your workplace
Many D.I.Y. Musicians work at home, write close to where they sleep and spend most of the day. Try changing your workplace and see how that affects your writing.
Define a new rhythm
Try out new ways of grooving through your day, positioning creative-time within unusual places. You’re not a morning person? Try being one.
Go for inspirational quality
When scanning through current releases and albums to inspire your work – pick out a few and stick with them. If a release is strong enough, you will discover a universe of detail and inspiration.
Discover your hot-phase
Try out different times of the day to dig into your creative work. Maybe you’ve been working nigh-shifts, but actually your most productive time is prior to 10am?
Do interdisciplinary research
Check out creative work in other fields. Film, photography, dance.
Ask a stranger
Random yet fun – ask a stranger to listen to 10 seconds of a song. See what happens.
Try rebooting your mind by getting some physical activity going.
Does a cup of coffee offer some form of comfort? Opening the windows and listening to the city feels like fresh wind? Try identifying rituals that lighten your mood.
Claim a motif
Find a topic, connected to your life and your experiences, that just makes absolute sense to write about. Or no sense at all – yet can be claimed. Why? Because you can. Claiming a motif is extremely important when developing a lyrical voice.
Watch Bill Murray movies
If I have to explain this, you have some serious movie time ahead of you, my friend.
Be the good cop
Be forgiving towards yourself. Treat yourself well and don’t be too judgmental towards your creative output
Clean the creative house
Look at the the topics you’ve been writing about. Does that hit your sweet spot? If not, try digging deeper or finding a different angle.
Make anti-inspirational quotes
Things like “Normality is key” , “It’s just a song” are ways of lightening the process while underlining the fact that we all take some things too seriously sometimes.
Embrace the underdog
The later you are in terms of deadline and delivery, the more underdog you are. Embrace that role and turn it into a strength – the underdog always come out on top. Well, not always, but often.
Check your “reason why”
Ask yourself why you started doing music and try to get back to that mental state and motivation.
Be aware of creativity blockers
Identify your own creativity blockers – like not getting other things done prior to creative work, loud noise, emotional stress.
Define your role
Professional music is often a process of collaboration. Are you more of a writer than producer? Try defining your role, and importantly – welcoming that fact, that you’re abilities might be incomplete. Chances are high, there’s someone out there looking for exactly your set of skills.
If you want to write, read. It helps your creative output.
Don’t underestimate the audience
Banality is grace, but don’t underestimate the audience. Challenge them.
Cherish the nuances
Sometimes the smallest detail in a piece of work is the most monumental.
Compartmentalize the problem
You don’t climb Everest in one day. Compartmentalize your problem and solve it in various small steps.
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