A Facebook acquaintance asked me about writer’s block and so did another musician friend of mine, so I think that the universe is telling me to write about how I get through it.
Writer’s block can and does happen to everyone, but there are a variety of things that you can do to protect against it and to deal with it when it shows up.
First off, keep a notebook of ideas. And keep it with you all the time, so that whenever an idea or title comes to you, you can put it down.
Later on, when the writer’s block shows up, you can go to the notebook for ideas and inspiration and direction. Knowing what you are going to write about makes the process that much easier, whether it’s a screenplay or a song.
If you don’t keep a notebook or don’t have it available to you when the dreaded WB shows up, here are a few tricks you can use to prime the pump and the get the flow going again.
One way is to learn something new; a new chord, a new phrase, a chord progression, a song written by someone else. Learning a song written by someone else is always good for ideas.
Dylan (www.bobdylan.com) has been quoted as saying that he frequently mines old folk melodies. If the musical phrase goes up, he goes down or vice versa. He also uses the rhythm of the lyrics to create his own. This technique makes the song sort of familiar and accessible, even the first time you hear it. Always helpful if you are trying to write a hit song.
After my first guitar lesson, I raced home and took three of the chords that were in a progression that my teacher had given me and by changing them around, came up with a wonderful song that practically wrote itself.
Another technique that I use is to sit at my computer or in the old days, my typewriter and literally type the lyrics out to a song I had already written. For me it was like getting a running start up a steep hill.
By writing the lyrics that I already had written, by the time I got to the end of the song’s lyrics, I had the flow going and just kept typing what ever popped into my head.
It never takes long after that for the song or story to begin to form itself.
Love to hear what some of you have done to overcome writer’s block. Let me hear from you.