September 24, 2006

Solutions to writer's block?

by Chris Randall

What do you guys do when you have writer's block? I'm in the depths of one of the worst phases I've ever had. (Although it's only two weeks old, so it's not that bad, relative to some people I know.) I know that everyone has a different method for getting out of it. What's yours?


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Sep.24.2006 @ 1:26 PM
high quality lysergic acid diethylamide

Sep.24.2006 @ 1:42 PM
Chris Randall
Yeah, if I wanted to write music that only I like.



Sep.24.2006 @ 2:38 PM
Write a song about your love for Diamond Dave, publish it (with video) in your blog, until you are in touch with your inner desires you can not be free.

Sep.24.2006 @ 4:08 PM
I agree with the 'working on small elements'

i use a different part of my brain when sample mining or whatever,
one thats more open to stumbling across ideas...
is it time to give the self critic a day off?

another game i like is to go to a second hand record shop & aim
to spend $20 & buy as many records as you can ie cheapy
throw aways.... then seriously go sample hunting on those!
there WILL be some inspiration there and quite possibly if they are
from a genre of music you dont usually listen to....
even if the sampel doesnt end up in the finished piece of music, it
can be enough to trigger a diretcion you might not otherwise take

& two quotes from a stash i have of such things:

' it is easier to enhance creativity by changing conditions in the
environment than by trying to make people think more creatively'

'a genuinely creative accomplishment is almost never the result of a
sudden insight but comes after years of work'


Sep.24.2006 @ 4:16 PM
From a rockband angle I say: do a cover. (translate to serve your own situation)

Not one of your all time faves but still something you think is pretty good.
Stay very true to the original but as you go make notes (at least mental) on how you would have done things different. When you're done with the cover, do it again but this time change the key, tempo (maybe even time sig) and include every goddamn possible change you thought of. Blammo, there's your new original.

The scary and sad part about this concept is that I've seen people rely on it as their main approach. I insist on leaving it as a last resort.

With a 'broken ego' I sometimes take a trip to guitar center for 'inspiration', nothing makes my shit not stink like hearing aspiring pros giving it their best. But I guess this blog kinda serves that purpose for you...


Sep.24.2006 @ 4:16 PM
the casiotone
That gets me from time to time, here's a couple of ideas:

change your schedule completly (assuming that you can, of course). If you wake at 8am start waking up at 12 or something. Just for a while. We think differently depending on the time we wake up and that may get your juices flowing. Of course it can mis-fire and you'll be all inspired to do a polka record.

get a new AND stupid instrument, like a melodica, a hang drum (panart drum - if you dont know what it is go to youtube ), jaw's harp, didgeridoo, anything that's basic. we are most inspired by limitation

same thing, but with your gear. use just one thing (or two) to do a track. probably it will be utterly crap, but it probably get an idea to get you going (last time i did that was with a spoon, a mic and a space echo - plooky dub i called it)

the eclipse is great for inspiration. u have one, u know what i'm talking about.

write music "against" other music, or use background noise. a fan, a motor or a shower. water works pretty great for me. talking about that: take a shower. it's relaxing and we all probably need it.

don't give crap. do nothing, see movies, etc. normal people call it vacation.

hand work - and i'm not talking bout that. do something manual and that makes you sweat. bricolage, gardening, painting (walls). the least creative thing you can do, the better.
don't go for me, it's voltaire words.
oh, and don't try sex, it has too many emotional things going to work.


try something new. whatever: knitting, piloting, cross-dressing, whatever makes you horny. normal people call it a hobby.

get yourself a non-musical non-creative present: like a massage, or a spa. it's a bit gay but you will actually feel better.

etc. just dont try to be "pass it". it will go away the day you actually stop thinking about it (or the reasons behind it).
if you absolutely HAVE to keep working (i wont advise it), limitation is the key. you ARE more creative when you have crappy and basic shit.

i tend to choose one of these when im block, it works pretty good.


Sep.24.2006 @ 4:18 PM
I tend to start sampling all the things I've been meaning to sample, and programming all the synths I've been meaning to program patches for. Eventually I'll be in the middle of creating a sound and will feel compelled to write a song.

Sep.24.2006 @ 4:25 PM
I can't really help with the music drought. Since I don't do it professionally, I'm in no hurry to get something completed, so I generally only complete things whenever I feel like it.

But as for work, writing words professionally, if I'm feeling blocked, I just force myself to push through. The easiest way for me to do that is to do a lot of short-form, bullet points, jump around from one half-formed idea to the next, until I get a reasonably useful framework, and then go back and repair the damage, which tends to ease the process of getting a final product, although ends up being a bit more work.


Sep.24.2006 @ 4:49 PM
What I tend to do is try writing in a style I've never done before. You'd be surprised how much playing 18th century chorales helps when writing synth parts. Or I work on something that has nothing to do with creativity, like learning "Claire De Lune" or trying to pick apart the pieces of "In A Silent Way". Or, as other posters have said, I force myself to write even if it's bad, or I tidy up samples and soundbanks and create new ones for no specific purpose; I assume you've already tried both of those though.

Sep.24.2006 @ 4:55 PM
seconding lsd vacation

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