All About Songwriting

Songwriting Tips, Ideas & Help In One Songwriting Resource

Tag: songwriters block

Songwriters Block – Creative Tricks To Beat the Blank Page

I find inspiration in people who are doing right now what I intend to be doing in the future. One such person who greatly inspires me for that very reason is Joyce Kettering.

She writes music to be licensed for media projects… Film, TV, games, any project that requires music. From what I can see, she doesn’t play live and she makes a good living from her music.

She runs two websites. The first being MadLass Music, her “label” as such where clients can go onto her site and license her music direct from her.

The second site is her songwriting and music licensing tips blog Creative And Productive which is fast becoming my new favourite site. online.

Joyce Kettering knows what she talking about, she walks the walk and talks the talk and when I came across her post titled Songwriters Block – Creative Tricks To Beat the Blank Page I immediately started to read it.

In the article Joyce outlines five creative “tricks” that work for her but what impressed me the most was the detail she put into describing how and why they work.

Under every trick she explains…

  • What it is
  • When you should try it
  • Why does it work

Setting it up this way made it so much easier to internalise the information at hand.

In describing Songwriters Block, Joyce says…

…songwriters block sucks. Being stuck in a rut sucks. It’s bad for the ego, bad for your confidence, bad for the enjoyment of life in general.

Couldn’t agree more. Check out Joyce’s article and if you have any thoughts regarding the article, let me know.

Until next time, keep on writing

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting


Here’s the original link: Songwriters Block – Creative Tricks To Beat the Blank Page

Smashing Songwriters Block, One (Bad) Song At A Time

Songwriting is the creative process of joining together lyrics, melody and music, and this process requires focus, time and patience.

However, all creative people have their own personal nemesis buried deep inside them waiting to wreak some havoc and put a spanner in the works.

It’s called your inner critic but really, it’s another name for your ego.

You know what I’m talking about, we’ve all been there, it’s that little critic inside your head that tells you that you have “nothing to write about” or that you’re “not good enough” or that you’ve got “no time to write” and so on.

If writing songs requires a certain level of activity then to write more songs we need to increase that activity, and one of those ways is to consistently win the battle with your inner critic.

As songwriters we need to be open to fresh new ideas, thoughts, feelings, experiences and observations and keeping that momentum going requires a steady flow of words from brain to paper.

If we lose the daily battle with our inner critic then the songwriting idea valve gets shut off by our own negativity, reasons and excuses and we simply dry up.

Hence the songwriters block.

Songwriters stop writing songs not because of their reasons and excuses but because they have let their inner critic talk them into believing that those reasons and excuses are the truth.

We need to find ways to distract, pacify or perhaps make friends with our inner critic and make it work for our songwriting, not against it.

I’ve always found that the best and most direct way to cure a dose of songwriters block is to just write anything no matter how corny and cliche the outcome may turn out to be.

Hell, I’ve written a lot of “bad” songs in my time from doing this very thing, but I don’t see anything in the rulebook that says that every song you write has to be heard by other people.

The next time you’re sitting down in front of a blank piece of paper and nothing seems to be coming out try this songwriting exercise, just write whatever comes to you and keep going until you fill the paper with words.

As you’re doing this really listen out to what your inner critic is telling you, accept that it’s not the truth and keep on writing and maybe, just maybe you’ll write a song about how you defeat your nemesis.

Hey! It might even be a good one 🙂

Until next time, keep on writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

Songwriting – The Blank Page Is Your Friend

Every time we write a song we start off with a blank page.

It sits there and waits patiently for us to pick up our pen and pour out our songwriting ideas from our hearts and minds onto its surface however, a blank page can mean one of two things to a songwriter.

It can either be something to be fearful of, a scary journey into the unknown, the graveyard of yet another “bad” song or, it can be a doorway to infinite songwriting idea possibilities.

Let me ask you this.

Are you free to create whatever you want, whenever you want without second guessing, self-censorship or prejudice on your part? Or, are you a songwriter that feels shackled by the belief that you must obtain some sort of quantifiable result every time you put your pen to paper?

Which headspace would you rather be in?

I know that I’m asking a lot of questions here but as songwriters, this is something we face every time we sit down to write a song and as our answers to these questions are automatic and unconscious, we wonder why at times we don’t write anything.

This is when we start blaming things like songwriters block.

So, try this the next time you sit down to write a song. Look at that blank page in front of you as your friend and playmate.

You see, just the very thought of sitting down to write a song means that there is possibility that the muse will knock on your door and ask if you can come out to play.

Remind yourself that writing a song can be one or more of these three experiences:

  • A linear experience – You come across a possible song title that jumps out at you and after writing the first line of the first verse, a first draft is suddenly completed from start to finish.
  • A puzzle solving exercise – You take a piece here, a song title there, a bit of a verse here and a half written phrase there and, after discovering the common thread that connects everything, a song is eventually completed.
  • Like incubating an egg – You finish writing a chorus but find you can’t go any further however, after leaving the half finished song for a period of time something triggers in your mind and the song magically completes itself.

Sometimes you start writing a song from the beginning and work forwards, sometimes you start a song from the middle and work outwards and sometimes you start writing at the end and work backwards.

When it comes to songwriting, it doesn’t matter where you start, as long as you start somewhere.

Just remember, a blank page is not proof that you’ve not written a song. It’s merely the doorway to an infinite world of songwriting idea possibilities and all you need to do is have the courage to walk through it, regardless of the outcome.

So get out of your own way and allow yourself to be free to create.

Okay, how is that blank page looking now?

Until next time, just keep writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

30 Ways To Overcome (Song) Writers Block

If you know where to look there’s literally tons of great songwriting tips, songwriting articles and general songwriting advice online.

One such example of this comes in the form of an article I found recently titled 30 Songwriting Tips To Overcome Writer’s Block by Sam Wilson from The Pro Audio Files website.

As the title suggests, the article lists 30 ways in which a songwriter can overcome the dreaded block. It is written with a (home) recording studio edge to it but as a songwriter, you’ll be able to glean some gold from the list.

The goal of the article is very simple. Sam writes…

“… whether you’re an electronic producer or more traditional singer/songwriter, you can use this list as a resource to spark new songwriting ideas.”

Reading through the list did give me some things to think about regarding my own songwriting process. The ideas that stood out for me were the following…

  • Idea 04 – Build A World In Your Head
  • Idea 06 – Tap Into Your Own Feelings
  • Idea 09 – Play With Some Samples (this is where the audio recording slant comes into play)
  • Idea 20 – Open Old Projects (you can also reinterpret this as “Revisit Your Old Songs”)
  • Idea 26 – Keep It Simple

No matter how long you’ve been on the songwriting path there will always be days where writing a song can be like pulling teeth and this article would be a very handy thing to have for just those times.

Have a read of the article 30 Songwriting Tips To Overcome Writer’s Block and let me know if there’s anything that you would add to the list.

Until next time, keep on writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

The Illusion Of Songwriting Perfection

Recently, I was chatting to a songwriter friend of mine about the pain he experiences while writing songs.

He said that he’s great at starting songs but lousy at finishing them (well, aren’t we all).

He also told me the main philosophy for his songwriting process is, “if the song is not perfect then the song isn’t worth finishing.”

WTF! No wonder he’s experiencing the pain of songwriters block.

I think that the concept of “if the song is not perfect then the song isn’t worth finishing” is something that’s more common among songwriters than we care to admit.

So, allow me to be a little blunt here. This struggle for songwriting perfection kills people.

It kills their creativity, kills their inspiration and sometimes (in extreme circumstances) the drive to perfection can kill a person physically.

There is a huge difference between being driven to write great songs and being driven to write perfect songs.

In my reply to his statement I said “…why don’t you try not to see songwriting as a means to an end (the hit song) but as a way of letting yourself go?”

As songwriters, how much pressure do we put yourselves under? A lot!

Is it worth it? NO!

The notion of songwriting perfection in anything is but a mere illusion. It’s created by the ego and massaged into existence by insecurity, jealousy, doubt, low self esteem and shame.

Songwriting should be a celebration of life, of letting yourself go, setting yourself free and playing around with your creativity. It’s not about reminding yourself how inadequate you are because you compare yourself needlessly to other songwriters.

Always remember that there’s not another one of you on this planet so therefore your experiences, your thoughts, your insights, your feelings, your dreams, your desires, your observations and the way that you question life, universe and everything around it are uniquely yours, and yours alone.

What does that mean? It means that…

1. There is no point in comparing yourself to others as there is no one else but you to compare yourself to in the first place

2. Being the unique creature that you are whatever you say is always very, very important.

The concept of perfection would only exist if there was something perfect to aspire to in the first place.

Now granted, there have been some amazing songs written in the past and there will be amazing songs that have not yet been written in the future, but none of those songs are “perfect” and they never, ever will be.

We, like our songwriting, are all works in progress.

Until next time, keep on writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

Songwriters Block – 11 Tips On How To Get You Unstuck

Songwriters Block… Every songwriter gets it at least once in their career.

It’s easy to find yourself in the midst of it and very difficult to get yourself out of the grips of it however, freedom from it can be achieved.

Songwriter, producer and keyboard player Michael Gallant through his article “Songwriting and Writer’s Block: 11 tips to help the songwriter get unstuck” seems to think so.

About songwriters block Michael writes…

“Creating a memorable song is rarely as easy as just humming a pretty melody and writing down some lyrics, though. And just like writers of prose or non-fiction, even the most successful songwriters hit creative walls.”

In his article Michael lists 11 tips that he’s collected through his own experiences and from a range of experienced songwriters that will help songwriters overcome their creative block.

They are:

1. Start with a title
2. Look and listen everywhere
3. Carry a notebook, voice recorder, or both
4. Keep unfinished ideas
5. Write a lot
6. Identify your own clichés
7. Keep your inner critic at bay
8. Ask for help
9. Write on a secondary instrument
10. Take a break
11. Use your favourite artists for inspiration

Of course the full descriptions and definitions of these tips are spelt out in Michael’s article however, my favourite tip is number four “Keep unfinished ideas.”

Doing this one thing has been the cornerstone of my own songwriting process and it’s something that I feel very passionate about.

Have a read of the full article here and while you’re doing that, have a think about your own songwriting process and the ways that you can improve it. If you have anything to share please feel free to let me know.

Until next time, keep on writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

Songwriting Process – 6 Steps To Beating The Blank Page

I’m constantly on the lookout for information online that is relevant to songwriters no matter where it comes from.

A great example of this is an article written by Robert Peters that I discovered today on one of my favourite blogging/online marketing blogs Copyblogger.

His article is called “6 Tips For Beating The Blank Page” and it’s all about the writing process of author Roald Dahl who wrote “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” amongst other things.

Through his visit to the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre, Robert distilled Dahl’s writing process into 6 steps.

1. Capture Every Idea
2. Create A Place To Work
3. Create A Routine
4. Use The Right Tools
5. Perfect Your Writing
6. Do The Work

The bottom line to the whole article according to Robert is that…

“… it doesn’t matter whether you’re writing stories for children about Oompa-Loompas, or sharing your knowledge by publishing content to market your business — collecting ideas, creating a space to work and a routine, redrafting your content and getting it published are crucial.”

I couldn’t agree more. What do you think?

You can go to the original article “6 Tips For Beating The Blank Page” HERE

Until next time, keep on writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting