Creativity Block: How To Overcome It
Writer’s block is a nightmare. And it’s not just authors who suffer from it. Creativity block affects everyone. Musicians are known as some of the most creative people out there, with good reason. You work tirelessly to harness your creative power and produce masterpieces. There are no doubt, times when you have produced a new hit in just minutes, and other times when you just can’t find the right way to say what you mean.
Even the most creative individuals across the globe experience this struggle. It is easy to feel burnt out, discouraged or like you have nothing of value to give. By no means are musicians immune to creativity block or writer’s block. These feelings come and go and can prevent us from reaching our goals for weeks.
In fact, this year has probably been one of the worst years for creative struggles. The difficulties of the pandemic have impacted every aspect of our lives, right down to our passion and projects. You might be tight on money, unable to play live or just struggling with the wider social issues.
Thankfully, in the UK and many other countries, the light at the end of the tunnel is becoming visible. So we’ve put together this blog, which should help you in the meantime, and in the future, to turn that block on its head and push down the right path.
What Is Writer’s Block?
Put simply, writer’s block is an overwhelming sensation that writers, and many other creative individuals, experience whilst being creative. It blocks their ability to think and produce creative work and establishes a sense of being stuck and unable to move forward.
What many people don’t realise is that writer’s block is not just writer’s block. It is a creativity block. It manifests in a much more layered way and can affect all creative endeavours. You experience a huge wave of anxiety, procrastination and self-doubt all at once. You start to question everything around you, everything you have achieved and everything you thought you could do.
Odds are, if you are a producer, a songwriter or a musician, you’ve encountered a creative block in your career. It sucks. It is completely unavoidable and it throws you completely out of your rhythm.
How To Overcome Creativity Block
You don’t need to worry, this is not the end of your career. So many artists go through this. Dry spells happen and it can be helpful to listen to them. Sometimes it can be useful to collect information that you can use in your creativity moving forwards, other times it might suggest you need to spend some time doing something else just to recharge the batteries.
The topic has been oversimplified in creative communities. If you ask how to deal with it, you’ll get told to go for a walk or to smoke some weed. However, if you are angsty to get going, we’ve got some tips to help you out here. Some of these tips might counteract each other, but that is because there is no one guaranteed fix for creativity block. Different people respond in different ways and you need to listen to your mind and find a way to kick-start your creativity again.
Take A Break
Does this seem counterproductive to you? You want to finish your project, so why would you stop? Well, for many musicians, music is work. Would you work all-year round, 12 hours a day, seven days a week for 10 years without taking a day off? No. So you need to think about that here too.
On a weekly basis you are:
- Booking and Playing Gigs;
- Marketing Your Music;
- Engaging With Your Audience On Social Media;
- Writing Your Music;
- Creating Your Music;
- Designing Merchandise;
- Doing General Admin Work;
- Working Another Job.
There is no question that being an independent artist requires a lot of investment from time and energy. You will make many personal sacrifices and often invest money long before you make money. This will undoubtedly take a toll on your energy, inspiration and productivity.
Our Tip: Take a break. If you are feeling overwhelmed, continuing will only increase those feelings. Take a step back and take a break. Forced creativity won’t even hold a candle to your usual work. You don’t need to take two months out. A walk round the park, an evening in the pub, a visit to a friend or a day in bed can all make a difference.
You might find that by stepping away from your work, you gain new inspiration and a new perspective. Just a few hours can expose you to a lot of inspiration and help the ideas start flowing.
Change Your Environment
This has become a problem throughout the long furlough year of 2020. Being stuck in the same place can become tedious. You may need to just go somewhere else, breathe and approach it again. Pick somewhere completely different like a beach, a forest or somewhere with a view.
Get Your Ducks In A Row
There is more to life than just music (or so, that’s what we’ve been hearing). Sometimes your lack of creativity is nothing to do with your music, but more to do with life around it. You can spend all day wandering around worrying about what is going on at home, with your parents, the bills and so many other things. It can be hard to concentrate on your creative process.
Our Tip: Get some paper and write down every other thing that is going through your mind and interacting with your thought processes. After you’ve done this, look at the list and see if anything screams out to you as vitally important. If so, you should probably solve this first as this is definitely distracting you. If there isn’t, chuck that list away. You’ve cleared out your headspace and you know everything is okay. Now you can get to it.
Don’t Suppress It!
When you create music, you usually follow a certain archetype. This is not a bad thing. You may have an established sound and style that you are loved for and you want to make your music fit your mold.
However, true creativity is almost like letting the song make itself. You get lost in the creativity. The journey makes itself and the destination is incredible. Don’t suppress creativity in service of executing another idea. Let the creativity produce your sound. Follow your creativity, not your plan.
Stop Being A Perfectionist
Trying too hard can feel the same as creative block. It’s not because you have a creative block, but because you can’t get it as perfect as you imagined. But, you don’t need every step to be perfect. You can produce something great that you can tweak as a complete product.
Our Tip: Set yourself deadlines and stick to them. Complete a stage in your deadline and move on to the next. That way you can keep on creating your sound and executing your vision without getting stuck on the minor details. Deadlines force you to focus on completion. You don’t have the time to perfect every single little thing.
Once you have completed every element you can take a short break and review it as a complete product, making any tweaks you want. That way you can still progress without getting stuck at the first hurdle.
Sounds really simple, because it is. If you’ve tried some of these things and nothing is helping, maybe you are just procrastinating a little too much. Sometimes, there is no greater advice than “just start already!”. Sometimes the hardest part is just sitting down and getting on with it. Maybe the work you are putting out isn’t quite what you want, but it’s a start. You’ve put something out there and you can slowly sculpt that into what you want. Even if you just keep one line from what you’ve written, one tweet that you compose or 10 seconds of a beat you produce, that’s a step in the right direction!
A creativity block won’t disappear unless you take action. These strategies will help you to deal with your creative block and get your workflow flowing again. Remember, don’t beat yourself up. Be kind to yourself. Give yourself a break and have faith in what you do.
Creative block is a temporary hurdle and you can always find a way around it. Soon, you’ll back be on form.
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