Five Tips For Songwriting During Tough Times

One of the most potent strengths of being human is the ability to be creative. There’s a wonderful sense of empowerment that comes from assembling something beautiful out of what seemed to be disorder.

Songwriters know this; I’ve heard many describe their songwriting as a kind of therapy for the soul. Finishing a song feels like finally scaling a mountain, and it’s a great feeling.

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These days, we all need to do whatever it takes to allow ourselves that feeling of empowerment. When the news seems all bad, we’re very inclined to ruminate over the bad stuff. It’s more important than ever to take care of yourself, and tend to your mental health.

If you tend to be a “ruminator” (and who isn’t these days!?), there’s a great article on the PsychCentral website, “Why Ruminating is Unhealthy and How to Stop,” written by clinical psychologist Margarita Tartakovsky. The article isn’t about the positive power of songwriting, but the sentiments and processes she shares have a direct application to those who are creative, like you.

There are any number of sites that describe how to overcome your feelings of doom and gloom, so I am going to offer my own suggestions to songwriters. I’m not a clinical psychologist, but if you live a musical life you already know the power of being musically creative.

  1. Start a songwriting session by relaxing, slowing down your breathing, and pushing negativity aside. You’ll be surprised how quickly this can happen if you do that one act of slowing down your breathing. The world becomes a more manageable place.
  2. Stick to your daily songwriting schedule. You may not be going to school right now, or your job may have been put on hold. These are anxiety-inducing events. The best thing you can do is to stay normal with the other aspects of your life. Songwriting is probably one of those aspects that you can stick to, and you’ll feel better for it.
  3. Keep streaming new material. If you have the ability to make decent recordings from your own house, you will find that people are looking for as much positivity as possible these days. Streaming something you’ve written that’s upbeat and positive will help those who don’t have your songwriting/performing talents.
  4. Write even if you don’t feel inspired. The best inspiration comes from your own songwriting efforts. These days it’s hard to get yourself feeling creative. Once you start writing, you’ve taken a huge step to blocking out the world, and you’ll find that your own songwriting will provide you with the inspiration to keep going.
  5. Listen to good music. Lately I’ve heard several people say that they have to remind themselves to listen to music. They’re spending too much time obsessed over bad news. We all need to stay up-to-date with news and official advice, but that doesn’t mean you must have the news on incessantly. Turn off your TV and get reacquainted with the songs that have made you the musician and person you are.

The world needs good musicians — good songwriters, performers, producers, etc. — and there is a special need right now for your talents. So if you’ve been feeling too down to write, take advice from step #1 above: relax, control your breathing, think positive thoughts, and start writing those good songs. We all need your talents!

Gary EwerWritten by Gary Ewer. Follow Gary on Twitter

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