Here’s the scenario: you want to write the next song, but you can’t. You’re sitting down every day but nothing good is coming out. You’re really trying but nothing sounds right, you cycle through ideas just to get frustrated with each of them, you get yourself to write lines and hate every one of them.
I’ve definitely been there. I like routine and I write best when I’m writing often. That doesn’t mean every day is a good writing session or that full songs are flowing out effortlessly. There are ups and downs to the experience, no matter how long you’ve been writing.
Here are a few ways to write more, making sure to not force creativity.
1. Better than Nothing Mentality
It’s difficult, especially if you’re pursuing a career in songwriting, not to quantify how much you write. You hear stories about songwriters who write five songs a day. Not everyone can do this on their own or should feel the need to, especially in an era where albums are becoming less popular.
Instead, be appreciative of what you can accomplish every day, even if it’s a little bit. Adopt the “something is better than nothing” mentality, because it really does hold true.
2. Think About Writing More Than You Actually Write
It is important to stimulate your environment so that your brain is being creative without you forcing it. Do a few lines of writing a day, because it’s better than nothing. Stick up song ideas on your wall using post-it notes. Learn and practice songs you love. Read about songwriting in books or listen to podcasts.
3. Alleviate the Pressure
The paradox of being creative is that we’re often more creative when we don’t have to be. If writing every day kills your creativity, don’t do that. If you feel the pressure to write good songs every single time, write bad songs. If you feel like you have to write, take a break until you miss it again. Practice kindness towards yourself and your words as you are writing.
4. Let Yourself Be Creative
Not forcing creativity turns into relaxing and letting the ideas flow in. It might mean centring your mind before writing sessions to calm any racing thoughts. It might mean writing down any bad ideas in your brainstorm, even if you don’t use them, just to get them out. It might mean trying a songwriting exercise or something completely new so you feel excited and inspired.
Many of our frustrations can often be summed up in perfectionism and the pressure we put on ourselves. If that’s you, there are ways to turn around a writing session so you don’t feel that way. By changing your mindset, it’s very possible you might go to creative lengths you may not have explored before.