Songwriter's block

When You Lack the Desire to Write

Writer’s block takes many forms. It may be that you want to write, but can’t find the time. Busy lives can make being creative a difficult state of mind to find.

And if you do finally find the time to pick up the pencil and guitar, you might find that ideas aren’t happening.

And there’s another kind of writing block, and this is one that I find composers of music don’t like to talk about: you might find yourself completely lacking the desire to write.


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You especially hate that one, don’t you, because it puts you in the same category as everyone else in the world. Most people don’t write songs, and lacking the desire to write simply means (you assume) that you’re like everyone else: not a songwriter.

It may be that your brain is trying to tell you something important: please stop for a bit, and let me think!

A recent article called “The Secret Power of Idleness” (Nigel Barber Ph.D.) from Psychology Today, talks about this important issue of allowing yourself some time away from your creative processes. It’s sub-headline reads, “The brain does some of its best work when we take a break.”

And further down the page you’ll read:

When we are busiest, our brains are not necessarily doing very much. Conversely, when we take a break and engage in some apparently mindless pursuit like playing solitaire, walking, or shoveling snow, our problem-solving brains kick into overdrive. We may perceive ourselves as taking a mental break but the problem-solving brain never rests. Indeed, the problem-solving parts of the brain are found to be more active when we daydream.

Your Creative Brain at Peak Efficiency

Songwriting requires our brain to work at peak efficiency, but if we don’t allow ourselves to stop and rest, we may be compromising its ability to generate ideas, and then to properly organize those ideas.

Barber also says, “Creative people need downtime when their daydreaming brains can bring new ideas, and novel products, to light. One way of achieving this inner quiet is through withdrawing from other people. Perhaps this is why introverts are responsible for so much of the world’s creativity.”

I hope you take the time to give that article a read. I hope it will allow you to feel less guilty if you are currently lacking the desire to write. And I hope that it serves as a reminder that it may simply be your creative brain telling you that it needs you to stop while it sorts things out.

Every creative person needs this, and your songwriting will likely improve if you can simply slow down.


Gary EwerWritten by Gary Ewer.

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