Songwriter working at a keyboard

Think Small to Keep Feeling Creative

What do you do when you’ve got a day — or a week or a month — where your creative juices are letting you down? What do you do when songwriting, which used to be fun, exciting and fulfilling, is now frustrating?

Feeling that you’re getting nowhere with your songwriting often comes from setting the bar too high. You want to finish what you start, but every time you pick up your pencil to sketch out some ideas, you’re musical imagination lets you down.

Hooks and RiffsHooks and Riffs: How They Grab Attention, Make Songs Memorable, and Build Your Fan Base” shows you how a good hook can make the difference between songwriting success and failure. With great examples from pop music history.

If this describes you these days, there is a way forward. There is a way to see a light at the end of the writer’s block tunnel. That light is this: think small.

Thinking small in the songwriting world simply means to set a small goal for yourself and feel satisfied that you achieved it.

Those goals might be:

  1. Editing what you’ve already written.
  2. Writing one or two lines of lyric, not worrying about writing an entire lyric.
  3. Coming up with a short, 2- or 3-chord progression that can serve as the underlying harmony for a chorus hook.
  4. Aiming to complete one section of a song, and not worrying about writing the entire tune.

The key is to purposely start your songwriting session with the aim of achieving smaller goals.

When you set smaller goals for yourself, you still get that endorphin rush that comes from successfully completing anything. Your mind doesn’t usually negatively judge you for the smallness of that achievement. It typically results in making you feel successful.

So if you’ve been going through some tough days creatively, before you decide to spend a few days away from writing, try simply setting smaller, more manageable goals for yourself. Creativity on a small scale usually leads you back to creativity on the larger scale that you’re really hoping for.

Gary EwerWritten by Gary Ewer. Follow Gary on Twitter.

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One Comment

  1. Thank you for the reminder. I just realized I have been doing all this on a regular basis, but not giving myself credit for writing. ☺️

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