Welcome back for part 2 of our latest installment, Overcoming Writer’s Block and Increasing Productivity. Last week we took a look at a few key things we can do to change our habits and routine in order to overcome writer’s block, and this week I’d like to share a few more tips with you.
Today, we will focus primarily on maximizing your creative workflow and finishing projects. We will be touching on key topics such as identifying your creative weak spots, focusing on the big picture, sticking to 1 task at a time, and committing publicly with a project due date. Let’s get started!
Identify your creative weak spots. Let’s face it… there are certain things we are better at than others when it comes to creating a song. Maybe you are incredible with song structure but are lacking when it comes to creating a catchy melody. The main thing to keep in mind here is everyone has weak spots, and if you take the time to identify them, you will be that much closer to conquering them.
There is a saying in the music industry that goes, “Good producers copy, great producers steal” because when you get stuck in a spot where your creativity is lacking, it is good to see how other successful professionals solved the same problem you are having. Don’t be afraid to borrow an idea that works for your song because this is a great way to learn successful techniques you can incorporate into your projects. Please do not misinterpret this saying… I am not suggesting you copy-paste a chorus, melody, or entire chunk of lyrics verbatim for your project. I am trying to make you aware that everybody hits a creative wall at some point, and drawing off of someone’s creative inspiration is a great thing to propel your project back on the right track. Having a problem writing a catchy hook? Make a playlist of 25 songs you feel have incredible hooks, then analyze them to see what makes them successful and incorporate these new skills into your creative repertoire.
The Big Picture: Blueprint 1st, specifics 2nd. One issue that can absolutely kill creative momentum is allowing yourself to get caught up on tiny details, such as the volume of a snare, when you are still in the creative process. Start looking at a song like a painting: you need to get the broad strokes down on the canvas before you can start filling in specific details. What I like to do when I start a project (depending on what I’m working on) is come up with an overall theme/idea for the song, then break down the song structurally and begin to focus on what needs to happen in each section of the song. I am continually reminding myself to take a step back and focus on how my decisions are affecting the overall big picture. If there is a tiny detail that is bugging you in the creative process that will interrupt your creativity, WRITE IT DOWN. In this way, you will have a short list of details to clean up later while you continue to successfully add more and more to your song and find yourself staying on track in the process.
Focus on 1 Task at a Time. This one is pretty straightforward, yet I struggle with this one personally. If your goal for the day is to start and finish 1 song, the last thing you should do is start 1 song, take a break from it for a while, start 2 more, and come back tomorrow to take a look at it. If you get into this habit, you will never complete any of your projects, trust me! Set a goal and stick with it… you will be amazed at how much progress you get done when you stick to the task at hand, and before you know it, you will be making 2-3 songs a day without even trying!
Commit Publicly. This is the last thing I want to address in the hopes that you will use this powerful tool in order to force yourself to do what you’ve set out to do. Let’s face it; there’s no better motivation to get something done than when you’ve promised to release your project to the public by a certain date. I challenge you to try this with something you’ve been struggling with creatively lately, as it will force you to rise to the challenge and show off your end result for all to see!
I hope you’ve picked up a few tricks to help you fight writer’s block and increase your productivity over these past 2 weeks! I think you will start to see when you implement a few of these simple but effective tips, your creativity will be able to flourish, and you will have an easier time staying on track with your projects.