5 Alternatives to Songwriting When Musical Ideas Aren't Happening

Don’t stress when the musical ideas aren’t happening. Just change direction.


Download “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” 6 eBook Bundle, and get “From Amateur to Ace: Writing Songs Like a Pro” freeRead more..

Follow Gary Ewer on Twitter

Artist paintingResearch shows that most cases of writer’s block comes from fear – generally a fear of failure. True, you could say that it’s simply a case of good ideas not happening. But being human, there will always be days when good musical ideas don’t occur to you, but that’s not necessarily writer’s block. Writer’s block goes beyond not being able to create something; it kicks in when you obsess over it.

If a few days go by when you haven’t done anything creative, you’ll start to notice that nagging “I’m a failure” feeling setting in. So don’t let it! There are lots of creative alternatives to songwriting, and these ideas will help you remain positive about the state of your artistic imagination.

So when work on your latest tune grinds to a halt, it may simply be time to divert your attention with other things. Try any one of these:

  1. Learn to Draw/Illustrate. There are lots of sites that offer free drawing lessons. Some offer a free lesson or two, and then a modest fee to continue, and if you have an interest in developing your artistic abilities, it could be money well-spent. To start with something free of charge, try Free Art Lessons From Artyfactory.
  2. Write Poetry. Improving your poetic skills will ultimately help your lyric-writing. To get the basics down, check out Creative Writing Now.
  3. Learn Carpentry. Carpentry is a great way to extend your creative mind in an entirely new direction. Like music, once you’ve created something out of wood, you’ve got something you can keep, admire, and show off to others forever. For some great ideas that are easy for beginners, check out Woodworking for Mere Mortals.
  4. Create Crossword Puzzles by Hand. There are lots of programs out there that will create puzzles for you, but this can be a great way to tap into your knowledge on a particular subject. And doing it the old-fashioned, pen-and-paper way isn’t as hard as you might think. Check out this wikiHow page.
  5. Do Songwriting Games. So if you can’t seem to break through the impasse you’re encountering with that god-forsaken song you’re working on, doing songwriting games will allow you to be creative without feeling the pressure to actually write a song. I’ve done several blog posts in the past about these kinds of activities. For starters, try these ones.

You may think that doing non-musical things is just wasting time that could or should be spent on songwriting. But the truth is that you’re going to wind up frustrating yourself beyond any ability to be creative if you don’t take a break once in a while.

That’s the purpose of these activities. They allow you to be creative in usually an entirely new way. And for most of them, you’ll still wind up with something that will make you feel that you’ve still used your creative time well.


“The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” 6-eBook BundleThe Essential Secrets of Songwriting 6-eBook Bundle now contains a 7th eBook – and right now, that eBook is FREE. “From Amateur to Ace – Writing Songs Like a Pro” shows you the most common errors songwriters make, and how to quickly solve them. These 7 eBooks are all available at a bundle price of $37 (reg. $95.70). Click here to learn more.

Posted in Writer's Block and tagged , , , , , , .


  1. Pingback: Songwriting | SanLauMusicProjects

  2. Pingback: FEATURED ARTICLE: 5 Alternatives to Songwriting When Musical Ideas Aren’t Happening | Creative Music | Inspiring Musical Creativity

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.