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Most songwriters rely on their instincts as an important contributor to the songwriting process. How they write, when they write, even why they write… for many, it’s all governed by – even dictated by – their natural tendencies and habits.
The problem is that it is often the case that more bad things come from habits than good things. This is especially true when it comes to considering the creation of a songwriting schedule for yourself.
Many songwriters write only when the feeling hits them. Are you this kind of writer? Do you tend to wait until you feel the creative urge inside you? The research shows that people who write only when they feel like it (i.e., when they feel “inspired”) are less prolific and more prone to writer’s block than people who establish a schedule, and stick to it.
You may think that creating a schedule for your writing means you’ll struggle with getting any ideas flowing at all. But most songwriters find, often to their surprise, that scheduling their songwriting activities results in more, and often better, songs being written.
If you’re willing to give it a try, here are some tips for creating a daily schedule for yourself, one that will allow you to reap the benefits of organizing your creative life:
- Don’t try to write every day. Five out of seven days a week is plenty. That gives you a chance to rest your creative mind, and that’s a crucial part of keeping songwriter’s block at bay.
- Don’t over-schedule a day that’s already a busy one for you. If you have a full-time work schedule, or if you go to school, give yourself a bit of a break on busy days. Try this as a basic rule of thumb: aim to write 2 hours on a day that you have nothing scheduled; write for 1 hour on moderately busy days, and keep it to a half hour or even less on busy days.
- Don’t stress yourself out with your writing schedule. The point of a schedule is to make you productive, not stressed. There’s no sense in creating a schedule that increases your stress levels.
- Find quiet, secluded places to write. Don’t try to sit in your work lunchroom with others around scratching ideas on a pad of paper. That just doesn’t make sense. Find places that are quiet, where you know you can’t be interrupted.
- Don’t let a writing schedule change your waking-sleeping schedule. It’s counterproductive to create a writing schedule that requires you to stay up to midnight on nights you’re usually in bed by 10. Use your normal everyday schedule to work out your writing schedule.
- Begin a scheduled block of writing time with some quiet time. If you’ve scheduled your songwriting to begin at 7:00 pm, make sure that you can get about 15 minutes prior to that time to settle down, relax, clear your mind, and decompress. That’s an important part of becoming creative, and there is psychological research to show that “boredom” can be a vital part of thinking creatively.
The creating of a daily (or almost daily) songwriting schedule is the most important part of finding a solution to writer’s block. In my new book, “Beating Songwriter’s Block: Jump-Start Your Words and Music“, I take the reader through a fun and productive set of steps to creating a schedule that makes the most sense for you.
The best part is that the ideas are based on scientific research into how the brain thinks creatively. If you really want to cure the block you’re going through right now, and do what you can to prevent it from coming back, you’ll want to grab that book.
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