Writer's Block & Overcoming It

author: benjmc date: 07/31/2003 category: songwriting
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Man, I don't care about architecture. Don't be getting' funny on me. Humour is unacceptable, you're reading this to learn damn it. Oh well?as always, to kick-start this lesson I'm going to explain what a writer's block is first. Have you ever reached a stage in your writing 'career', I suppose, where everything is coasting along quite smoothly, but then suddenly you find you can't write anymore? (And it will be exactly like that in the severest cases - can write can't write, just like the flip of a coin). Have you ever suffered from a milder case, where you experienced an inability to write anything that - when being honest - could be termed "good"? Well, then I believe you've suffered from a writer's block. Maybe you still do. Are you currently suffering a drought of creativity and imagination? I think it's time for some rainfall, don't you? Are you downright tired of this lull that has suddenly come over you? Well damn; overcome it. I am a satellite; I'm out of control. It's a Queen reference, "Don't stop me?oh oh oh" - ah sheesh, forget it. Perhaps, even though you've realised your writing is lacking lately, you keep on writing. You're thinking, "This can't go on forever". That's exactly what you're thinking? Man, you're a genius. This is one of the most effective ways (in my experience) of overcoming writer's block. See, I had this problem recently where the writing wasn't exactly up to par, but I kept on writing?and you know what? I wrote one of the best songs I've ever written when I forced myself to write it. And I know that that goes against everything I've told you, but if it works why doubt? Let's get this straight?You want me to write a song about my hand? I'm just taking it as an example, but if you want to do it, I won't stop you. Now what exactly am I talking about? Well, anyone heard the Incubus song, "Nice To Know You"? Mmm?it's about his hand going numb (you know, Pins and Needles). So what I'm saying is, take something completely ordinary and then make it symbolic. It's another sure-fire way to break out of a rut. Just symbolise, and think about your writing. This is one of those relaxed times where instead of feeling emotion, you think about what you could write, and the best way to express something. I am relaxed! Boris, find me a new anger therapist now! For some people, another way to overcome it is to write music instead of lyrics. This goes back to the point about having yourself in a totally relaxed frame of mind?You see, whenever you're making music sometimes you'll just sing some sort of melody to your chord progression. And often, you'll be singing words that you're making up on the spot. So record yourself doing this! You can then type up/write down - see what I did there, the lyrics and edit them so that they flow and make sense. Self-induced creative injury? Sounds like a failed suicide attempt. Occasionally a writer's block can be brought on by the writer's themselves. I mean, maybe they've been writing too much lately and have just used up all the material that they were thinking about expanding songs out of. For those people I would suggest going outside and chatting with some friends. There were other people I had in mind when I thought up this section of the lesson though. And that is the lyricists who also happen to be musicians. Suddenly, the area of focus, which they put all their effort into, has changed. Instead of lyrics it now happens to be music. I kind of had a similar experience recently. I was playing lots of scales, learning theory and generally playing guitar more than usual - I. e. I played for like 6-7 hours in one day. This all in an attempt to get better, which is what we're all trying to do, in some form or another. Whenever your endeavour to become amazing at guitar (or any other instrument) increases, you'd think you'd lose focus on lyrics. And technically this is true, because all your attention shifts to the more musical side of the creative process. But in truth, if this is the case, then all your really doing is depriving yourself of the time to write. So now I'll let my experience do the talking, and try and remove anything humorous from the lesson; I'll replace it will philosophy. Other Things. Try listening to new music (radio)?or reading new novels Can I write both lyrics and music? To write you must be in a certain frame of mind - more precisely, one where you feel relaxed and at ease with writing what comes to you. To get into this state of mind, you must allow yourself a certain amount of time to write. You must think, okay now, I'll dedicate myself to producing some lyrics. Now is my time. Musicians are people. People conform to human nature. We feel the temptation to shift our focus into music or lyrics. Sometimes, we feel it's too hard to do both. In truth, it's not; trust me. But before you can allow yourself to practice both making music, and writing lyrics, you must allow the time for both. If you can't write lyrics now, write them later. But don't deprive yourself of the time. Closing Comments. I wish you luck with your karate, (breaking that block)/overcoming that lull/whatever you would like to call it. Because in truth, musical, or lyrical... the creativity and inspiration is within you. The hardest part s finding that out, and then finding out what to do with it.
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