July 25, 2022

9 ways to overcome writer’s blocks in music production

Whether you are struggling to find inspiration or need can’t stay creative and motivated, here are 9 tips to help you beat writer’s block as a musician.

Few things are more frustrating than writer’s block. You know the feeling all too well: you sit down to produce some new music, but nothing works. Either your mind is blank, or your ideas are just not working, and you can’t seem to get anywhere no matter how hard you try.

You may feel like you’re the only one who experiences it, but writer’s block is a widespread phenomenon. The good news is that there are ways to overcome it. Here are our favorite 9 tips to help you get past writer’s block and start making great music again.

1. Take a break.

If you’ve been sitting in front of your DAW for hours with no results, it may be time to step away for a while. Sometimes the best way to get out of a creative rut is to take a break and come back later with a fresh set of ears.

Forcing creativity is never a great idea, especially as a music producer. Sure, you should always try to push yourself and try to get your tracks and ideas forward even when you’re not in the mood. But if you are experiencing proper writer’s block and are fully stuck, try taking a break.

2. Work on an unfinished project instead.

Try working on something else if you’re having trouble getting started on a new project. It can be helpful to have multiple projects going at once so you can switch between them when you get stuck.

This is also a great way to finish tracks you may have otherwise abandoned. It can be easy to get caught up in the creative process and start second-guessing yourself, which can lead to unfinished tracks and projects. If you find yourself in this situation, consider working on something else for a while and returning to the original project with fresh ears and a new perspective.

Image of a folder with many Ableton Live project files.

3. Change your environment.

If you’re used to working in the same place all the time, try changing up your environment for a fresh start. Sometimes all you need is a change of scenery to jump-start your creativity and beat writer’s block.

If your main workstation is a desktop PC, this is a bit more unpractical. However, if you produce on a laptop, grab it and some headphones and get away from your desk. Lay in bed, relax on your sofa, get seated on your balcony, or perhaps even go outside to a local park, you name it.

4. Set some creative rules for yourself.

If you’re experiencing writer’s block as a musician, try setting some creative rules for yourself. This could be anything from working on a track for only 30 minutes to using only three specific plugins per track.

The point is to give yourself some boundaries, so you’re not feeling overwhelmed by the creative process. Then, once you have some basic ideas down, you can start expanding on them and breaking the rules you’ve set for yourself.

One of our favorite creative rules is to limit ourselves to using only one sample pack. Chances are, you have thousands of samples in your library, so limiting yourself to just one sample pack helps you get creative and think outside the box.

If you need a new sample pack or preset pack for this kind of creative challenge, check out our free downloads section. We have tons of high-quality samples and presets to step up your productions—all for free.

5. Get organized.

One of the main reasons people experience writer’s block is because they’re not organized. If you’re struggling to come up with ideas, take a step back and make sure your creative space is organized and set up in a way that works for you. Both your studio environment and digital environment.

This could mean everything from cleaning up your desktop to setting up a specific project folder structure. A well-organized creative space will help you feel more creative and motivated, making it easier to find inspiration when needed.

This is also the perfect time to go through some of your newly downloaded sample packs and drum kits, grab your favorite sounds, and put them in your own go-to-sounds folder. This way, you don’t have to dig through a bunch of different packs whenever you want to start a new track.

6. Listen to new music.

Listening to new music can be a great way to get inspired and develop new ideas. If you’re having trouble getting started due to writer’s block, try listening to music that’s outside your usual taste and see if inspiration strikes.

This can help you come up with new approaches you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise, like using different types of drums, experimenting with new synths and instruments, or trying out other creative effects.

It’s also helpful to listen to music that’s in the same genre as what you’re trying to make. This can help jump-start your creative process and get your brain thinking about the specific sound and style you’re going for.

Image of many vinyl records on a shelf.

7. Work on your business as an artist.

When you’re experiencing writer’s block, focusing on other aspects of your music career can be helpful. This could include anything from working on your marketing and social media strategy to booking shows and planning tours.

Working on the business side of things can help take your mind off of the creative process and give you a much-needed break while at the same time making progress as an artist.

Marketing your music is a must nowadays, especially if you’re an independent artist. So creative blocks are the perfect time to think about ways to promote your latest release, make new connections in the industry, set up a press kit or artist website, and much more.

Once you make progress on the business side of things of your music, usually the motivation and inspiration quickly comes back, allowing you to get creative again.

8. Recreate other tracks.

This creative tip is a bit more advanced, but it can be a great way to jump-start your creative process. If you’re feeling stuck due to writer’s block, try recreating another track that you love. Perhaps one that sounds similar to what you had in mind in the first place.

You don’t have to copy the track exactly, but try recreating the melodies, drums, and synths. See how close you can get to the original track. So even though you’re experiencing writer’s block, you’re still practicing the production process and getting better at mixing, mastering, and improving other production skills.

9. Produce with someone else.

Lastly, producing music with someone else can be a great way to overcome writer’s block and get the creative juices flowing again. It doesn’t matter if you’re working with another musician, producer, or even just a friend.

Collaborating with someone can help take the pressure off of you to come up with all the ideas, and it can also help spark new creative ideas that you wouldn’t have thought of on your own.

Plus, it’s generally more fun to produce music with someone else. You can bounce ideas off each other, give and receive feedback, and push each other to be creative. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.

Image of 4 musicians collaborating in a home studio to beat writer's block.

Conclusion to overcome writer’s block.

There you have it, 9 ways that you can overcome writer’s block and get back to producing great music. Of course, no one is always creative, so it’s normal to experience creative blocks from time to time. You’ll experience it just as much as your favorite producers will.

The important thing is to not get too discouraged and to keep pushing through. But most importantly, try not to waste any of your precious time. You probably have school, work, or other responsibilities throughout the day, so when you have a couple of hours to work on your music and nothing truly sticks, work on other areas of your music, like the business side.

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