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As a songwriter, there’s little that has the negative impact of feeling discouraged in your creative process. Being discouraged means that you see nothing good coming from your creative efforts, and that, along with fear of failure, is the first stage of writer’s block.
What can you do to turn discouragement to a mindset that’s more positive? Here are some ideas to try:
- Listen to older successful songs you’ve written. If you believe that, back in the day, you found songwriting to be easier and more rewarding, spend some time listening to those tunes that made you feel like a successful songwriter. Remind yourself that you were creative enough to write these tunes, and that sense of creativity likely hasn’t gone away, no matter how discouraged you feel about the state of things today.
- Write small musical ideas rather than full songs. Give yourself daily songwriting tasks, ones that are short and easy to complete. An example… Challenge yourself to write just the first line of lyric a song verse, and do that 10 times. Or write a short melodic fragment, just one or two bars long, and try to find all the possible chords that might properly harmonize it. The idea is to keep the challenges short and simple so that you feel successful and creative.
- Try a songwriting partnership. Working with other songwriters, particularly ones you already feel an artistic connection to, can often help you get over the creative block that’s making you feel artistically deflated.
- Write a short songwriting manual. Imagine that you’ve been asked to put into words what makes good songwriting. Just the act of describing what you do will help to sort things out in your musical brain and help you feel more organized. It doesn’t need to be long — imagine you’re writing the booklet for someone who doesn’t have a clue what a songwriting process is.
- Offer to give songwriting lessons. If you have a sibling, a cousin, or a niece or nephew who’s just getting into songwriting, offer some guidance. The act of describing the songwriting process to someone else can give you a positive feeling of leadership that can change your negative mindset into something more favourable and music-inducing.
It’s completely fine to put songwriting aside for a week or more, and make it a planned break. Just tell yourself that you’re taking a songwriting vacation, and that you’re going to start again on a certain day and time.
That planned break gives you permission to turn your creative mind to other things that provide less stress in your life. When you return to songwriting, you’ll have a more positive and favourable view of writing.
Written by Gary Ewer. Follow Gary on Twitter.
“The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” eBook bundle includes“Writing a Song From a Chord Progression”. Discover the secrets of making the chords-first songwriting process work for you.