Writer’s block is a frustrating thing when it happens. And while there’s lots you can do to help keep it to a minimum, it can happen to the best of us. But getting that creative feeling may be easier than you think, and if you’ve got even just a basic keyboard, here’s something you can try.
Most keyboards today have drum machines – banks of various drum patterns in countless styles. They’re meant, of course, to add to your on-board recordings. But a great use of these rhythms can be to snap you out of a writing slump.
If you’re like most people, you try to break the writing doldrums by strumming away on your guitar, trying to come up with a chord progression that coaxes a melody forward. You’d be surprised how much more quickly the ideas happen if you do your improvising with a drum beat in the background.
When you can’t feel creative, it’s like every aspect of your creative mind shuts down, and you feel about as musical as belly lint.
That drum beat stimulates the creative mind, and gives you part of what you’re looking for – a basic background rhythm. And it gives you that without you even having to think about it.
The drum beat will likely be lame, and something that you’ll want to modify to have it work in a song, but it will have done its job: it begins the process of opening up your imagination. In a funny sort of way, it feels like at least the drummer knows what to do!
Other things are also going to help break you out of the writing slump, like finding a regular writing time, changing your songwriting formula, and listening to other musical genres.
Try the drum box stimulation, and see what it does for you.
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Good advice — thanks. In general, it seems good to add an external stimulus when faced with writer’s block. This could be another person to jam with, or it could be some kind of “stock” backing like a drum loop, or it could be some kind of artificial restriction. I’d be interested in hearing other approaches.
I love the drum beat idea…I actually haven’t tried that for a while but it always works. That’s partly why I often come up with ideas while I’m walking — just the rhythm and sound of my footsteps sometimes helps me come up with a beat and then, a melody idea.