How to Overcome a Crisis of Ideas for a Songwriter

How to Overcome a Crisis of Ideas for a Songwriter

Writing songs is hard, right? Well, it kind of is. With some songs, you immediately move from the beginning stage of collection ideas to the final stage, where most of the writing takes place. With other songs, you find yourself struggling to come up with lyrics. You find it impossible to find new ideas, which can lead to a lot of frustration. When songwriter’s block hits, it hits hard. It happens to everyone, so it’s inevitable. Days or even weeks pass as you helplessly stare at your blank notebook.

It’s just like Natasha Bedingfield described in her hit These Words:

I’m trying to focus my attention
But I feel so A.D.D
I need some help some inspiration
But it’s not coming easily…

Songwriter’s block can take over the creative process, making you useless. The good news is that you can solve this crisis of ideas. Use these tips and get past the creative hurdle.

Tap into the Value of Your Own Experiences

Focus your thoughts on your own experiences. And transform your personal experiences into a song. Maybe you were involved in an earthquake of some magnitude. Or perhaps love has disappointed you. Write about the things that you’ve personally experienced. After all, you’ve gone through so much and it would be a shame not to share your experiences with the world. Have your phone with you all the time in case you need to record voice memos or a melody suddenly pops into your head.

Some of the most beautiful songs written tap into painful, traumatic experiences for the songwriter’s past. One of the best-known songwriters who incorporated her love sorrows in her songs is Adele:

I’ve seen your face under every sky

Over every border and on every line

You know my heart more than I do

We were the greatest, me and you

If you create music that sounds honest, you’ll reach out to more people. The genuine feelings and experiences will show who you really are. Faking it will only take you so far. Write music that actually means something. Here are some examples of things that could make a great song:

  • Something interesting/amusing/captivating:

Did you have to go to jail,
Put your house up for sale, did you get a good lawyer?
I hope you didn’t catch a tan,
I hope you’ll find the right man who’ll fix it for ya
(Amy Winehouse)

  • A random encounter or thought:

I saw an angel
Of that I’m sure
She smiled at me on the subway
She was with another man
(James Blunt)

  • Something new in your life

Have you heard the news today

I’m leaving town

I’m cashing out

This towns to small for me to stay

The time is now

I’m heading out (Melanie Fiona)

It can be hard to put feelings and experiences into words and explain them to someone. When creating musical art, you have to adhere to things such as melody, rhymes, meter, and so on. maybe true, but keep in mind that songwriting is no different from any other communicative medium.

Don’t Try to Be a Perfectionist

Songwriters aim for perfectionism. They want to craft the perfect musical composition, although it’s not always possible. Chances are that you’ve prepared a couple of song ideas, but you’re too afraid to use them because they’re not perfect. You might want to lose the perfectionism. It’s just an idea. It’s one thing to want to be a great songwriter and it’s a completely different thing to cripple your momentum.

Lower your standards a little bit and see the result. Ideas will flow quickly. Don’t attempt to tweak or add something to the song. Let the lyrics exactly as they are. Find some friends or acquaintances whose opinions you trust and see what they think. Your song is ready, but you don’t know it yet. Here’s a thought: post your idea on social media. Ask your fans what they think about the song you’ve come up with. As far as perfectionism is concerned, it’s not the best thing for your happiness.

Your Lyrics Shouldn’t Be Full of Grammatical Errors, Though

 If English isn’t your native language, you should make sure that the song sounds okay. Web-based tools such as ProWritingAid, WoWGrade, After The Deadline will let you know if something is weird from a grammatical standpoint. Write down what you feel or think in clusters of ideas and make sure to proofread it.

Listen to Tunes That Inspire You

So, you don’t have any ideas for writing new songs. And you simply don’t know what to do. Listen to your favorite music, why don’t you? You just how powerful music can be. It can inspire you to do great things. Listening to music, and especially playing an instrument, can have a positive effect on your mind. You get better ideas, so it gives you a much-needed dose of creativity.

Put on your favorite tracks and understand why you got into songwriting in the first place. You’ll be surprised to see how many memories this can bring up. Here area few pointers on how to choose inspirational music:

  1. Unique sounds create one-of-a-kind moments.
  2. Stock music can get the job done.
  3. Listen to loads of tracks.

You can experiment with themes and all sorts of song titles. The more you listen to music, the more ideas you’ll get. Learn what the tunes you’re listening to are about and you’ll understand why they enjoy such great success among various audiences. If you love the idea, then use it. No one expects you to reinvent the wheel.

Keep Things Fresh by Changing the Song Structure

Musical creations are made up of a number of sections which are repeated from beginning to end. Much of the music available today follows the same structure. This is precisely why it’s recommended to do things differently. To be more precise, change the song structure. This is the easiest way to come up with something new.

William Stansell, the Director for Brand Insight at SupremeDissertations, insists on the fact that “when you repeat yourself or write the same thing on and on, your audience goes to sleep. Keep your songs fresh. All songwriters have the same challenge, but they manage to come up with musical compositions that are innovative enough. Try a new signature from time to time.”

There are several things you can do. For instance, you can hit the chorus first. Every hit song starts with the chorus, so don’t fear that this kind of approach is unpopular among music fans. Simply flip the verses, add a little bit of vibe, and voila. If you don’t have the time to do anything else, get a song and tweak it. Listen to your favorite tracks and identify the ones with a good structure. A few tweaks here and there are enough to give the song more life. Just think about it. You’re sure to get more Spotify followers.

Return to Your Original Inspiration

What inspired you to write music? It’s imperative to find an answer to this question. Maybe you were looking for a better way to express your feelings. Or maybe there weren’t many opportunities for you to perform. It doesn’t really matter. You need to return to your original inspiration if you want to finally overcome your songwriter’s block.

Rediscover what motivates you in the songwriting craft. Negative comments from your fans made you less excited about writing lyrics and creating musical compositions. Maybe so, but keep in mind that you have a talent for this. Don’t let what some people think bring you down. Rediscover your passion and get where you want to be. Ask the question mentioned above and identify areas where you can make positive changes.

The bottom line is that it’s difficult but not impossible to get over songwriter’s block. Ideas will come and you’ll be able to write again. The crisis of ideas has to end at some point. Believe it or not, it will.

Written By: Angela Baker

About Newton Arunaye

Electrical Electronics Engineer, C.E.O Legit9ja Global SLTD. Award Winning Blogger | Promoter | Brand Activator | Talent Manager | Instagram; @Chief_Legit | Twitter @NewtonArunaye

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