Songwriter’s Guide: How to Beat Writer’s Block

A songwriter frustrated and struggling to write with writer’s block.

Every songwriter or musician has been there. You have this burning desire to create, but either nothing is coming out or what you’re getting is not what you want. This is known as songwriter’s block, or just writer’s block, and there’s nothing more frustrating and discouraging to a songwriter. Sometimes, it doesn’t last long and is a relatively small hiccup in the writing process. But other times, it can last for months and have a devastating effect on a writer’s work and what they love. No matter how severe your writer’s block is, there are many ways you can fight back. Implement the following tips and tricks into your writing process to attack you writer’s block head-on so you can get back to writing the music you love, sooner.

Write every day

First and foremost, beating your songwriter’s block isn’t going to come easy and almost certainly not going to be fixed overnight. A consistent, deliberate effort to writing each day is what’s needed to bust up the funk you’re in. Sure, writing with writer’s block can be agonizing and stressful, but over time it will become easier and you’ll be strengthening your songwriting skills. So write every day and use the rest of the tips listed in this guide to aid you in the process.

Detach yourself

For me, what made writer’s block, and writing in general, hard was being too attached to whatever I was writing. I’d start writing about something going on in my life, get halfway through a song and stop when the inspiration stopped flowing. Thus, I had a ton of half written songs that never got finished because I treated them as if they had to be perfect. Needless to say, skipping the rough draft stage and trying straight to a finished product is self-destructive and counterintuitive. Truth is, a song is never perfect from the start and many hit songs you hear on the radio were written and rewritten sometimes dozens of times. So since you should be writing every day anyway, think of your writings as daily chores and not prized possessions. Things should flow much easier thinking this way. 

Don’t be picky

This is somewhat of a follow up to #2. Don’t be picky with what is coming to you. While struggling with songwriter’s block, writer’s often get in their own way by expecting perfection in one setting. Start with a draft and keep revising over time until you have something you love. If you run out of inspiration in the middle of a new song, try putting it aside and picking it back up another day. Again, it doesn’t have to be perfect from the start. You just have to get the ball rolling!

Free write

This is my favorite of all the tips listed in this guide. Sit down with a pen and paper and literally write down anything that comes into your head. Ideally, you want to write for 5-15 minutes, cramming as many words as possible without stopping. The best part is none of what you write has to be logical or make sense. The idea of free-writing is to get the gears in your head turning and thoughts flowing. This is an extremely powerful writing tool and is sure to help with any writing issues you’re experiencing whether its for music, education, etc.

Limit your distractions

Addressing your writer’s block can be difficult and in that, you might end up running from the problem by procrastinating. It’s really easy to do with everything going on around us. To stop procrastinating, you’ll need to consciously block out anything that could distract you from writing. Turn off your phone, turn off the TV, put on some noise canceling headphones, etc. Do whatever needs to be done to get yourself in a focused state of mind.

Change your environment

Most people do their writing at home and that makes sense because its comfortable. But if you write at home and find yourself struggling, a change of scenery can do you a lot of good. Find a nice park or a comfortable coffee shop to sit at and write. Or maybe even go to your garage and sit in your idled car. 

Something to consider..

Humans need organization. Many of us will feel anxiety if we don’t have enough of it in our lives. With that said, having spaces with specific functions within your home is key organization. In other words, you should be eating in the dining room, watching TV and lounging in the living room, and sleeping in your bedroom. Studies have shown that mixing these up in your daily life can stifle success and productivity, as well as cause problems like insomnia and depression. Take this into consideration when you write because it could be killing your writing.

Use different instruments

If you’re a musician, try picking up a different instrument to aid you with your writing process. You don’t have to master it, of course. The idea here is just to write in “unfamiliar territory.” The change of tone and physical stimulus can have a great effect on your songwriting.

Cover songs

If you’re a musician, do you play any cover songs? If not, pick a handful of popular songs or songs you like and learn to play them. As a musician, playing other musician’s songs has helped me develop my own style and sound. Learning and performing music that is not your own is just another way you can combat your writing blockage. 

Caffeine and Sugar

Caffeine helping to write music
Sit down and write with a cup of coffee to stimulate your mind.

Sometimes all you need is a little bit of extra juice. Charge your battery and stimulate your mind with caffeine and sugar by drinking some coffee, tea, soda, etc. Whatever you prefer. 

Be relaxed/ well rested

This may go without saying, but good writing never comes easy with a tired, overworked brain. Write in the morning with your cup of coffee before your day gets started. Or maybe find a lull somewhere in the middle of your day and dedicate that time to write. Get your 8 hours of sleep to ensure you’re well rested and mentally balanced. 

Meditate

As stated above, having your mind and body in the right place will help you write more efficiently. Meditation will relax you both physically and mentally as well as reduce stress. Try meditating for 5-15 minutes before you write to get into an optimal writing state. 

Re-invent yourself

Writers block can often represent ruts in your life. If this is the case, try doing something new or change something about yourself to spark a fire of creativity within yourself. Whatever that change may be is entirely up to you. 

Listen to new music

The artists and bands we listen to have a huge impact on how we write and what we write about. If you’re experiencing writer’s block, you may also be in dire need of new music to listen to. Branch out and find more great music. Streaming services like Spotify are great tools to finding new bands/artists because they will create playlists of new music using music you’re already listening to. You hardly have to lift a finger. 

Find your muse

A muse is something you feed off of for creativity and inspiration. Do some soul searching and identify the person or thing in your life that gives you the most joy and happiness and write with that person/thing in mind. 

Quote of the day

Use the beautiful words of other writers. Quotes can be super inspirational and even a great basis for a song theme. Use our daily quotes to jumpstart your writing. You’ll find a new quote each day on our home page.

Use our theme generator

A common problem for songwriters is getting stuck writing about the same things in the same ways. Doing this will most certainly contribute to writer’s block and content creation issues. If this is an issue for you, use our Theme Generator to change up what your write about. 

Stop waiting!

Like I said earlier on, writer’s block can be one of the most frustrating and discouraging things in the world for songwriters and musicians, but you’re not going to beat it by sitting around and waiting for things to come to you. Take action right now! 

I hope you have found these tips and tricks helpful to beating your writer’s block! Ultimately, try them out and stick with what works best for you. And if at first you don’t see any progress, keep trying!