songwriting frustration

The Value of Small Goals in Songwriting

If you find yourself always succumbing to writer’s block, you may find yourself thinking that there’s as much frustration in the act of songwriting as there is fun. What can you do to prevent a creative block from constantly showing up at the worst times?

One of the best ways I know to keep writer’s block at bay is to create smaller goals for yourself. That may seem strange to you. After all, you’d never say to a mountaineer who’s trying to climb the world’s highest peaks, “Climb smaller mountains and you’ll be just fine.”

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So I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have the goal of writing as many songs as you think you should be writing. But for every songwriting session you start, you need to ask yourself, “What am I expecting of myself for today’s session?”

If you think you should or could be writing an entire song in one sitting, you may have just identified why you find creative blocks creeping into your songwriting life. Deciding on a complete song as the only thing that will satisfy you could be the source of considerable frustration.

Here’s a better process: Make it your plan to work on two or even more songs in the same songwriting session. That way, as soon as you feel stuck with one song, you move quickly over to the other song — or even songs — that you’ve got in your plan, and you’ll likely find that you’ve got a bag of fresh ideas you can dig into.

By switching from one song to another, you keep your sense of creativity alive, and that helps you stay positive.

So your goal for each of those songs can be a lot smaller: you’re not expecting to write two or three complete songs in one session. And by working on multiple songs simultaneously, you don’t allow negativity to get a foothold.

Some of the best songwriters are multitaskers. Practice the art of multitasking, and it will help keep you in the creative zone. And in the long run, you’ll write as many songs as you usually do, or even more.

Gary EwerWritten by Gary Ewer. Follow Gary on Twitter.

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