Breaking Down The Wall Of Writer's Block

Writer's block can be a very frustrating thing. Fortunately, with a few tips learned from many years of playing guitar and writing songs, curing writer's block can be a painless endeavor!

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There comes a time in every guitar player's life where he or she comes to an invisible wall that they just cannot climb. This can be a very difficult time for any musician and is extremely frustrating. Overcoming writers block can be an uphill battle, and it can last months, or in more severe cases, years. If you are reading this, I know the burning question in your mind. How do I overcome writer's block? One of the most important things to help fight writer's block is to know the warning signs and understand what writer's block is. Wait a momentThere are signs? It is true, and these signs can be hard to notice. But what are they? The answer can be different for everyone. From my experience, one of the most tell-tale signs of impending doom is monotony. Continuously playing the same things over and over and over and over and, wellyou get the point. Another frustrating thing is reaching that point where your technical ability reaches a limit and realizing that it's blocking your creative energy. Obsessing over technical ability will definitely rain on your parade and in turn damage your ability to focus on writing. There are infinite amounts of signs, and they will vary by individual. But all that aside, it's time to get down to business. If writers block were easy to overcome, you wouldn't be reading this right now. So what is it about overcoming writer's block that makes life so miserable? What can we do to solve this distressful problem? A man named William Goldman once said, "The easiest thing to do on earth is not write." This is really truthful. While it may be easy to ignore it and think, Hey, it will come to me later, the simplest and best way to combat writer's block is to simply keep writing. And then write some more. And after that, write even more. Whether you think the end product is good or not, you are still pushing on that wall and it will, eventually anyway, move. Let us borrow a technique I learned while writing poetry. It's called free writing. It is exactly what it sounds like. Here's what you do. Play something random, and keep on playing randomness until you start hearing something come from it. I like to say that there is noise in your head, and getting that noise out of your head is crucial. Even if you end up strumming a G major for six hours, if that's what it takes to be free of the noise, so be it. Another good tip to help the musical juices flow is to step away from the genre you are trying to force out. Play something else. If you can't write a death metal riff, try writing a folk song or jazz progression. Sometimes that's all it takes. You may find that moment where it all clicks and, dare I say, even find that you prefer writing jazz. This brings me to another good tip. Never EVER stop learning. Even if you just learn a new chord every few days, or a scale once in a while. Anything will help. Learn other people's music, too. Play anything and everything you can get your hands (pun not intended). In the case of technical ability, just cool it. Take it back a notch. Slow down, literally. Do not obsess over something that you physically aren't able to do just yet. Owning up to the fact that we do not have supernatural abilities or fingers that can melt molecules or defy the laws of physics is as important as breathing. With practice and time, everything will come. Patience is key, and being able to step back and analyze your playing is part of being a successful guitar player and will always aid you when combating the evil entity of writer's block. When facing writer's block, it is important to never give up. Don't let it defeat you. Think positive and your moment of genius will come to you when it is time. A final quote to help drive the message home: "Keep Writing, Keep Dreaming" - Between the Buried and Me If you have any more questions, feel free to ask me anything. I hope you found this helpful!

7 comments sorted by best / new / date

    GeorgeLynchLvr
    Thank you for making me think. I have been trying to write something...anything for a long time. Been trying too hard I think. I will take your words to heart. ROCK ON!
    rizzobilliards
    wow, i just stumbled on everything the author said just yesterday and broke my writers block with 4 new songs, and been struggling for about 3 years about the time i wanted to be yngwie malmsteen. learning technique helped but it was obsessive scales and runs, licks etc..And each new song was inspired from different types of rock and metal. so playing different things does help alot.
    DreaStyl
    Ha ha I'm first. An intresting column with brightly tips, looks helpful. Almost a month I trying write a solid lyric, first on my language, and later, when I get practice, I will try on english. In your opinion, who is the best songwriter/s for you. For me is M. Knopfler. Man has a great inspiration. P.S sorry for my bad english. It's my second language.
    sqrrloncrack
    GeorgeLynchLvr wrote: Thank you for making me think. I have been trying to write something...anything for a long time. Been trying too hard I think. I will take your words to heart. ROCK ON!
    thanks =)
    rizzobilliards wrote: wow, i just stumbled on everything the author said just yesterday and broke my writers block with 4 new songs, and been struggling for about 3 years about the time i wanted to be yngwie malmsteen. learning technique helped but it was obsessive scales and runs, licks etc..And each new song was inspired from different types of rock and metal. so playing different things does help alot.
    i am glad you got some use out of my article. looking at other genres and outside sources really is an inspiration and can help you take leaps and bounds in you writing.
    DayDreamer2015
    whoever you are who wrote this, you are a good writer. you're very inspiring and i appreciate this article
    sqrrloncrack
    DayDreamer2015 wrote: whoever you are who wrote this, you are a good writer. you're very inspiring and i appreciate this article
    thank you so much =)
    TheNameOfNoone
    Few years ago, I was rocking in my room with my Washburn and Vypyr, I knew how to play some mainly mainstream songs like Master of puppets, Rock you like a hurricane etc., and I thought that I know everything on guitar. I was just playing same things over and over and over, admiring myself and my slow fingers. I was actually facing the wall of writer's block. Until one beautiful day, when a friend of mine sent me videos of Buckethead playing. I almost cried above my egoism... Well, since many times I just sit with my guitar doing nothing but playing one melody for hundred times, this article is still very helpful to me. Cheers. Cheers.