All musicians work differently when it comes to playing, writing, and coming up with new material. Some people have specific routines to get into the right creative headspace. Others wait for inspiration to strike before they dare to do anything.
But no one is immune to creative blocks.
And creativity isn’t something that can be taught.
Step Outside, Summertime’s in Bloom
John Lennon once said, “time you enjoy wasting is not wasted.”
What does that mean for a musician struggling with creativity? Well, it could mean you should step outside and “waste some time” in nature. Going off the grid for a while can help you to push reset, and recharge your batteries. Sometimes, the hustle and bustle of life can be distracting and add to the stress and pressure you feel to be creative.
Whether you take a hike around a local campground or you plan a weekend getaway to a log cabin or a lake house, spending time in the wilderness can help to clear your head and bring you some peace.
Make sure you’re prepared for inclement weather with the right supplies and gear, especially if you’re ‘roughing’ it by going camping. Being prepared can help to give you peace of mind and make you feel safe, so you can focus on finding some tranquility.
You can also use your time off the grid to brainstorm. Far too often, musicians who feel pressured to write will only focus on a certain subject. When you’re out in nature with nothing surrounding you, it’s much easier to brainstorm and write down some of the initial thoughts that come to you, whether it’s ice cream, love, or big white clouds. Bring your notebook and a pen with you, sit outside, and let your thoughts flow freely to stir inspiration, no matter where you are.
You Can Go Your Own Way … Or Try Something New
A lack of creativity can sometimes be the result of feeling stuck in the same routine or rut for too long. There are many benefits to switching up your routine, not only in everyday life but when it comes to writing music.
Doing the same thing every day might be comforting but it can also cause you to burn out and feel uninspired. Benefits of changing up your routine, even in small ways, can be:
More enjoyment out of life
Encountering new experiences
Alleviating stress and anxiety
If you’re not comfortable deviating from the routine you have in place, consider changing the way you go about creating. You can actually tap into different areas of your brain by making small changes in the way you do things. For example, writing lyrics or music by hand instead of typing them can cause you to tap into more creative right brain concepts and ideas, rather than focusing on the more rigid left-brain concepts you could be used to. There are many benefits to handwriting, including a boost in brain function. But, it also helps to heighten creativity by using different word choices and visualizing the way you compose each letter.
Small changes can make a big impact on how you feel, how focused you are, and how your brain responds. Don’t be afraid to switch things up if you feel like you’re in a rut.
Frankie Says Relax
As a musician, you might feel pressured into being creative. Maybe people expect you to break out a new song at the drop of a hat, or create a new riff or lyrics that blows everyone away. Maybe you’re even putting that pressure on yourself. But no one is creative all of the time. Mental blocks happen. Procrastination happens. Life itself happens. There are so many reasons why you might be experiencing a creative lull and procrastination, such as:
Raising a family
Waiting for inspiration
So stop putting so much pressure on yourself. Too much stress can not only make you feel tired and irritable but it negatively impacts your ability to focus. As an artist, that focus can be incredibly important for writing music and lyrics. Sometimes, de-stressing and finding different ways to relax can be the best solution for boosting your creativity.
While it might not sound very “rock n’ roll,” getting enough sleep at night is a great way to fight back stress and anxiety. Getting a good night’s sleep can not only help to rejuvenate your mind but if you are able to get into a REM cycle, you can experience an increase in brain activity, which can actually boost your creativity. Paul McCartney has always said that “Yesterday” was written based on a lucid dream he had one night. Even a 30-45 minute nap can help you to feel mentally rested and ready to take on the world again.
If you’re feeling too stressed to fall asleep or you need help unwinding in other ways, consider alternative solutions like CBD oil. CBD oil has a calming effect that can allow you to stay focused, without the effects of THC found in marijuana. You’ll enjoy feeling relaxed without feeling high or dazed.
As a musician, creativity should come freely and naturally on your own terms. Don’t allow fans, other musicians, record producers, or even your own criticism to back you into a creative corner. Keep some of these tips in mind to help strike inspiration when you need it most, and you’ll be back to writing killer tunes in no time.
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