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Breaking Away from Writer's Block
Breaking Away from Writer's Block

At some point in everyone's songwriting journey they are bound to run into the dreaded writer's block. How long this phase lasts, and how often we find ourselves facing it is different for each of us. Don't despair, it happens to the best of writers and with a little time off or routine modification, it passes without pain.

I have run into Writer's Block, now what?

If you are finding that you are uninspired to write, there are several minor routine changes you can do to get over the hurdle.

  • Take a vacation. Just as with a regular 9 to 5 office job, your writing may become a daily task that you see yourself 'needing' to go through. If this is the case, sometimes the best cure is to get away for a few days. Now, I'm not saying that you need to hop on a plane and bask in the sun on some white sand beach for a few months. Being at home can do the trick just as well. All you really need to do is separate yourself from writing for a short time so that you can emotionally recharge. Hang out with family and friends. Go to a movie. See the sites. And most importantly, don't stress about not writing. The more you worry about your writing, or lack of, the more you will block your creativity. After a few days of R&R pick up a guitar, who knows, that old chord may sound new again.

  • Alter your writing routine. Do you always write lyrics first, followed by melody and music? Why not try writing music first then a melody and lyrics.

  • Cowrite. Cowriting can be a rewarding experience and your writing partner's creativity may boost yours.

  • Try writing in key signatures that you would not normally use. You may strike a chord that moves you into a new direction and gets you thinking of different patterns and melodies.

  • Try writing in a different musical style. If you write mainly country music, try something on the rock or pop side. Expanding your musical horizons can breathe new life into your writing.

  • Learn more about your main instrument. Just as with writing in different keys, learning new chords and progressions may spark something creative when you find that interesting new chord. And, it never hurts to have that extra knowledge. You never know when you might have to pull a different chord progression out of your back pocket.

    Remember, writer's block is only a phase and the less you worry about it the quicker it passes.

    Chris Ising

  • Manitoba Country Music Association