So you’re in the middle of writing the lyrics to a new song, everything is coming along magnificent, except that… You can not for the life of you, decide on the hook, or on the verse, or whether you should scratch it all out and start fresh. Here are 5 tested tricks that will help you move past writer’s block:
5. Write More Than Needed
Whether the words sound like fillers, or pauses, or even non sense, write it all down. Write even the most mundane rhymes down. But fill the page as much as you can. What this does to your brain is pull out the lazy ideas first, and when you’ll have finished filling the page, you will come up with better verses on your own. The brain is like a browser tab that stays in the background at all times. Once you assign your brain that you MUST write a lot, he will come up with plenty of options. Don’t judge what you’re putting down on paper. Just do it and later on, when you’ll have slept on it, you will extract out the best of the best. Myself, I usually write 32 bars instead of 16 for example, and end up cutting the bits and pieces that are not fantastic, which ends up being 50%. Sometimes the other 50% I see fit for another song and they end up creating the basis for another track.
4. Go Back To Who Inspired You To Start Doing Music
We, fans and lovers of music, always have a legend behind our creative spirit. Some got ‘initiated’ by Nirvana, some by Linkin Park, some by Biggie Smalls, and some by Lauryn Hill. Just a few examples. When we connect emotionally with the lyrics of a song, it is because it resonates with what we are already thinking and feeling. This is what striking a chord means. Basically the artist nailed it, he put his finger on your soul. When you lack creativity, or get stuck, find a song you used to listen to a lot, turn up the volume, and really, really get into it. Forget that you are a songwriter, that you are in a creative crisis and your frustrations. Just be fan for a couple of minutes. Surprisingly, going back to ‘your roots’, will summon back your essence of getting into music. You might end up so inspired, that your pen won’t be able to keep up with your brain.
3. Reply Back To A Famous Song
This one might sound crazy but there’s a method to my madness. Focus on a song that you very much agree with, or that really irritates you. And now imagine you have to sing back the replies and counter arguments to the original artist. Basically write a song that is a response to another already existing song. There are plenty of songs that balance each other like Yin and Yang. Think ‘Crazy in Love’ vs ‘Irreplaceable’ by Beyonce. She professes her love in the first, and drops him like a sack of potatoes in the second.
2. Watch A Good Movie
Keep in mind I said ‘movie’ and not ‘tv show’, or YouTube video. There are plenty of IMDB lists of funny movies, sad movies, creepy movies, happy movies etc etc What type of song do you want to create? The emotion you want to transmit to your listeners? Now use that emotion as an adjective and search on Google for top (your desired emotion) movies of all times. The reason I urge you to watch a movie and not other forms of video, is because in an hour and a half of a movie, there is a plot, characters, a villain, a difficult situation, a solution, and an ending. Movies are obligated to offer you all information needed in very little time, but with intense emotions. So you can get 100% inspired to write an incredible song after watching a movie. For example I just watched Lord of The Rings, and if I write from Frodo’s perspective, when he needs Sam to keep carrying the journey to the mountain, I came up easily with ‘Please be my forever-friend/ Please tell me there’ll be no end/ Help me stay in this moment/ Feels like you are my God-sent’. It is EASY. Oh and the more you write, the better you get at it. No doubt. Practice makes perfect.
1. Revisit Your Past
There’s nothing better to write about than what you actually lived on your own skin. Make a list of the top 20 events in your lifetime, memorable ones, and get to breaking it down. Then choose the top 10 out of the 20 (PS: you’ll get used to my method of cutting everything in half). Under each event, write the details. Who was there with you, what emotion did you feel, for how long, why was this event so memorable, where were you, what lesson did you get out of it, how often do you think about it, did it change you as a person, and so on and so forth. One technique some major artists use for example, is writing an essay on something that sits on their mind, get really deep with it, and then convert it into rhymes. It works. Have fun writing!
Article by Mariana Berdianu
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