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?


Page 3 of 5

Sep.24.2006 @ 5:05 PM
1) Get yourself another creative outlet. If you're not getting anywhere musically, try painting or model-making... anything else that will occupy your mind creatively but take the pressure off, musically. I know it sounds kinda Marta Stewart, but it works.

2) i like to watch some crazy dope shit (preferably on video/DVD), that's so insane it gets me rarin' to go again. For some guys its Malmsteen(!?), for others its James Brown on Ed Sullivan. Here too, I stay out of the studio.

3) On deadline, I just push through and let the chips fall where the may. Why, even Diddy writes mediocre stuff once in a while!

BTW ? If your block is only a couple of weeks old, don't worry. The Jagger/Richards one is 28 years long and counting.


Sep.24.2006 @ 5:12 PM
Try composing in some random piece of software that you don't usually rely on. You'll learn a new piece of software (which can be somewhat motivating), and you'll have to think about new approaches to composing.

Doing a cover is a good way to at least get back into working on something. You may not end up with something useful, but dissecting a favorite track note by note gives a good amount of insight into why you like it in the first place.


Sep.24.2006 @ 5:52 PM
Fredrik Carno
hmm I would just play music with people I havn't played with for a while or find new ones. The inspiration of what other poeple do musicially is enough for me. the way chris, thanx for the great job on the ribbon mics..
havn't got around to thank you earlier

Fredrik Carno


Sep.24.2006 @ 8:20 PM
In my case creative blocks are really only an issue when it comes to art and design. Music's just a hobby for me, but the same techniques would probably apply.
The first thing I do is start applying limitations. Someone already mentioned using just one instrument, but you might also consider limits on style and form. Only write Funk-metal Klezmer music. Only write lyrics in odd poetic forms (e.g. Haiku), or voices (second person narrative). Limit the tools you use. Turn off the computer and record everything with a dictaphone.
Another thing I do is to work with something only loosely related to what I do. For example, lately I've been messing with a program called vvvv (link []">link []). It's sort of like max/msp for video (but waaaay more useful than jitter from what I've seen), and while I've got no interest or experience in video/motion gfx., it allows you create visuals from sound. I've been messing with sound to make the images I want. You might try that. It's wierd what you end up hearing when the purpose isn't to make a good sound, but one that creates the visual you want.

Sep.24.2006 @ 8:54 PM
All this 'try a new instrument, new program, wake up late," etc, etc, is in a word horseshit.
Your course of action is the most appropriate, relax play some video games, forget you even have a studio, burn a nice mix of tunes and spend the day driving the new posimobile.
You started making music because you love it, when your blocked it feels like a job that you have to do. So just step away and forget about it.

Sep.24.2006 @ 9:23 PM
Chris Randall
As usual, Dr. Deacon pretty much hits the nail on the head, there.



Sep.24.2006 @ 11:24 PM
My assumption (and possibly that of some others who posted) is that Chris was looking for suggestions above and beyond just stepping back. In my experience, any person who works in a creative job and doesn't know to take a step back every now and then (whether they are blocked or not, but especially then) is a person who needs to find a new job.
Shit, they teach you that in grade-school art classes. Then again, it does seem to be something people forget.

Sep.24.2006 @ 11:39 PM
Chris Randall
The point being I've stepped back for a week and a half. I know myself enough to know when it ain't comin'. But usually it comes after a couple days.

I need some new gear, and that's a fact. Anyone selling a 606? Or an MS10? Or both?



Sep.25.2006 @ 12:05 AM
It's funny that you say you need new gear, as it seems to me that new gear automatically imposes some of those limitations I was talking about earlier. You get new gear and naturally you spend alot of time working with just that new gear (maybe one or two supplementary things) so that you can learn it, and justify it's purchase.
In the end it all accomplishes the same thing. Oh well.
I suggest hitting the pawn shops. Buy something weird and crap-tacular.

Sep.25.2006 @ 12:32 AM
Chris Randall
Learn it? Why the hell would I want to learn it? The only time an instrument is inspirational is when you don't know it. On top of that, there ain't a lot of learning involved for a 606 or MS10.



Page 3 of 5



Sorry, commenting is closed for this blog entry.