10 ways to get rid of writers block.

Ultimate Guitar

Writers block? Writers block you say? If you've been staring at beautiful blank "Document 1" for more than 10 hours than that's what you've probably got. If your lyrics consist of "I love you, I don't know what to do, I know it's true, I'm going to cry soon", then you are either

A) Infected with a the clich virus. B) Boring? Well okay no, maybe you've run out of things to say.

I have extreme writers block. I haven't written a song in... a week! Maybe I'm not the best person to tell you how to get over it. However, that is exactly the point. By writing this, maybe I'll feel much better.

01. Don't say "I have writers block."

So yes, I'm a hypocrite, but if you say this, your getting yourself more worried, your going to make it harder for yourself. Instead say "I don't have an idea right now, but I am going to. Just be positive.

02. Get rid of your inner critic.

If you write something, don't say "that's absolute crap," and then rub it out. Write it anyway. Even if its just a verse, or a line, then aren't you getting back into the swing of things? Even if it is crap, you're still practising.

03. "Combine your inner motivation with outer observation."

I can't remember who said this, but I think it was in "Songwriting For Dummies" (great book...), but if you have determination, look around. Remember this: EVERYTHING is songwriting material. EVERYTHING is poetic.... it depends how you look at it.

04. You could always write a song about writing songs.

...but apparently that never works... but try and make something original about it.

05. Be patient.

It will come, I promise... just don't give up... I'm a firm believer, that even if this business is extremely competitive, you can do it. You can do it, if you have determination to carry on writing until you really do get a good song. Sometimes, when I sit down on the guitar, I don't think "Crap, I'm not getting ideas," I just wait.... If you wait until it comes to you, it will eventually come to you! Some artists argue that they didn't write the songs: that they are already there - you just have to find them!

06. Visualise

Sometimes I close my eyes and either picture two things:

  • A music video with me in it.
  • A CD with my face on it.

    I play them in my mind... I picture a story, I picture the kind of music and the lyrics... just close your eyes and PLAY!

    07. Tell yourself you are fantastic at writing songs.

    And not only that, but that every single song you will write will be brilliant (no matter how crap it may be...). This way, this is not only getting rid of your inner critic, but it's also making you feel better about yourself, and may give you the confidence to pick up the guitar (or pick up the pianoif that works) and just write.

    08. Write what you know.

    Something pissing you off? Something making you happy? Or maybe the problem is that you are not feeling anything - that's why you can't write - but write about it! The most important thing, is that it's what you know. Write about your life, write about your family, friends, boyfriends/girlfriends, crushes, If you don't want to talk about it in your song, then write in 3rd person - makes it a lot less personal, yet people can still relate to it. One of the great things about writing a song is that, each one you write is like discovering something new about yourself. Sometimes I can write a song and be like Do I really feel like that?! I guess I do.

    09. I guess I've got writers block because I can't think of anything else to say

    But aha! I'm wrong! Do some co-writing. If you've got a friend who likes writing lyrics, or who plays guitar, or hell, just ask a random person, ask them to join in. If your by any chance on msn right now, pick a random window and say What are you feeling like right now? - write about that! Or, you could ask them (if they like writing lyrics) if they want to play a lyric game. You can write a line (a crappy one) and they can write a better one! If the lyrics aren't good, it might come up with an idea! There's no harmunless the song becomes mega successful and you forget to credit them

    10. Give up.

    Basically, if you can't write a song right now, don't bother, just practice some other songs you've written, relax a little - have a break. I had one big break of about 2 weeks once, and came back and wrote a decent song. There are loads of things you can do meanwhile - read about writing songs, read about playing guitar, go get guitar or singing lessons just make sure you do something every single day. Then, bye bye writers block - whatever you do, just never give up completely.

    You have the talent, and you have the potential to get where you want.

  • 81 comments sorted by best / new / date

      thats really motivational. hats off to steph101. this really made me think. thanks.
      RoughDraft: get in a bad siduaton...then write about it...
      i gess that;s teh hard trouth, i ones met a guy who wroght a song calld: dumd me, because i need the insperation :p great hints, very uisefull tnx
      I just try to keep the song as simple as possible at first, then build it up layer by layer. I write some of the words, then work out chords, then maybe a riff if I haven't already done that, then just add instruments and play around with it.
      Great article. It's given me more motivation to actually get up and write a song rather than complain about ones that I've wrote before and sit here saying I have no ideas. Top job.
      you should write lyrics/music in whatever order comes naturally, sometimes i use lyrics then put a tune to it but sometimes i do it the other way round, *** rules, follow what you think is best not what someone else says
      i agree. i mean look at bands that are professional, some come out with 1 album a year 12 songs. or even every 2 years. take your time be happy don't worry about writers block
      I find that by writing the dumbest things actually unlocks more potential things to write about
      habebe girl
      my friend and I did that in IPC last year and ryhmed it with every word that could fit. It didn't make any sense. It went like constipation is an unpleasent situation which causes complications and affects all nations and real world relations. There was more. but I forget probly a good thing too. Anyway good article. and yeah people often write songs about writing songs or get inspired from it. The Beatles song "Nowhere Man" was inspiired by John not knowing what to write and being in a nowhere state of mind.
      great article... best way to start writing is to just play and sing w/e comes out.. itll get you back into it!!!
      one good advice pal... get influenced by great writers like james joyce.. and i tell you you'll never get acquainted with writer's block.. peace
      Another thing you can do is you can find what you're feeling, make an attempt to put it into words but try and find a catchy way to say what you're feeling so that others will listen.
      same here..I got some great tunes but none of my lyrics can match them.. And I cant think of writing anything else because I have a stereotyped life
      you know, with all the comments in your article about writing what you feel right now, i think you may be writing a little too much emo man. and whoever up there said "get in a bad situation, then write about it" ..that made me think about this one time i got in a bad situation with the police, then i wrote about it.
      i liked that article a lot. I think Nirvana's "On a Plain" was a song about writing a song.
      Thank you so much for your help steph101. I've been in a lifelong writer's block and I'm hoping digging through all these 'writer's block tips' articles will finally tear down the veil.
      well i_g_ie if you gave up trying, then I guess you lost already, why be upset with others for actually taking interest in being creative. and good charlotte's written a song or two that I wish I might have written. Though I'm not really a fan. Cake's never there took the guy 15 years to write. And that's a bad ass song, so it doesnt have to be spontaneous. but it does help
      Well, wow, thanks everyone. I didn't even know my article got posted, because my email doesn't work... but anyway, yeah. First of all, I'm a girl... lol, although thats not important, despite the "this dude is a nob jockey" comment. You can't force a song out of yourself, I agree, because it''ll probably end up being silly. But if you force the idea, perhaps the rest will easily flow? The other comment, "If you have to sit down to force yourself to write for the sake of it and not the joy you need a different hobby" is probably quite true. Sometimes, I get bored, and write for the sake of writing, just so in the future writing a good song (writing better songs = more fun) (for me anyway) will be easier, funner, and make you feel a lot better. Anyway I'm going to shut up now... thanks again....
      Tons O'Fun
      If you have to sit down to force yourself to write for the sake of it and not the joy you need a different hobby. Who wants to listen to some bullshit song by some stones about his inability to write songs? If the song doesn't actually mean anything in particular to the writer how are the audience supposed to relate? If its actually about something significant in the first place then even if it sucks ass it'll still be of some value.
      it was well written and put together though so well done for that much.
      am i the only one that thinks this dude is a nob jockey? dude you can't sit down and just like... force a song out of yourself... *******. that's probly what good charlotte do for christ's sake. a song should be spontaneous, it should hit you like a meteor travelling at a million miles an hour. to hell with you dudes. this is exactly why i gave up trying.
      When the article started i thought: omg, not one of these stupid articles where you pretend your subject 'writersblock' is a big thing, while actually you're bullshiting along, but it turned out to be a pretty alright article i think quite a lot of ppl can relate to. Good job.
      good article, making me want to pick up my guitar and pen and get to writing, very useful good work
      kromatik: [quote]04. You could always write a song about writing songs. ...but apparently that never works... but try and make something original about it.
      I tried that once, didn't turn out too bad.[/quote] Same here, except I wrote it about writing a note to someone. Good article though, I like it.
      for those of you that think the article is contradictory u must realize that he says "Give up...[but] whatever you do, just never give up completely" which essentially translates into "take a break"
      I can make some ace riffs but I can never get a decent tune for the lyrics to go with them.
      its true when he said "EVERYTHING is songwriting material. " For example, the song Bertha by the Grateful Dead is about a ceiling fan. Its a great tune and one of my favorite dead songs! Maybe someone could write about a pencil or something
      04. You could always write a song about writing songs. ...but apparently that never works... but try and make something original about it.
      I tried that once, didn't turn out too bad. Nice article
      Everything he says seems to contradict something else he says. He says to not be out of practice and to not stop, but then go ahead and give up for two weeks.
      good tips but i there is more than that to unblocking writers block. I don't think is a single or even 10 fool proof methods that work for everyone. Well done though.
      Reading books that DON"T talk about writing songs are good too because they make you more aticulate...this helps me...