Every creative person knows the pain of writer’s block, when they just can’t write a single word or note of music. Songwriters can find it particularly difficult, when their muse seems to have gone on vacation! So they wait and wait for her to return … but it seems as though she never will. But there’s good news for them: creativity is a skill that you can train yourself to acquire. Here’s how to go about it:
1) Bring different ideas together
Often we try to be too logical and only connect things that make sense. So you would write about falling in love with a person, because that’s what you do in real life. But what about falling in love with a flower, the sky, or your favorite meal? It’s the popular management-speak of “thinking outside the box”; moving away from the obvious connections can give you some amazing ideas and produce compelling lyrics.
There are also other ways of awakening your creative mind than just sitting down and trying to write lyrics. Improvised comedy workshops can be immensely helpful in encouraging your creativity, because you have to constantly and quickly come up with ideas. In improv, the craziest things are put together, because that’s what’s amusing – and you’ll soon find that outside the workshops you’re able to come up with lots of ideas that you can use for your creative work.
2) Take chances
So often we wait for the perfect moment of inspiration to strike. Yet creativity doesn’t often work like that. Instead of sitting and waiting, experiment with ideas. Scribble things down, and see what works. Try new ways of finding inspiration. Take a newspaper and try different ideas; look for the first word beginning with a particular letter, the opposite meaning of different words you see, or write down a word and see what other ideas it brings up.
The idea with experimenting is to see what happens. You don’t have to use everything you write. It’s ok to discard things that don’t work; the point is to see what happens and get your creative mind working. The more ideas you come up with, the more you’ll have to throw away – but the greater the chance of coming up with some gems that make it into your songs.
3) Be an observer
Some of the greatest songs have been written by songwriters who are keen observers of the world around them. And inspiration can be found in the most unlikely places. So learn to open your eyes and look at what’s going on around you. Watch people and what they’re doing, look in shop windows, and observe the interactions between passers-by. People-watching is fascinating, and you’ll get glimpses into their lives that will spark off all kinds of ideas.
Look at objects as well. Let’s say you see a lost glove lying on the pavement. That could make you think about the owner of the glove. Was it a gift from someone they loved? Will they be upset that they’ve lost it? Or do they have so many gloves that they’ll never notice? Then there’s the glove itself. Who was it made by? What about the idea of two halves being separated? There are so many different angles that could be pursued just from this one lost glove.
4) Write, write and write again
The mistake many writers make, whether it’s a song or a novel they’re working on, is to expect the first draft to be perfect. That’s more likely to lead to dissatisfaction and frustration, as the work they produce turns out to be flawed. Instead, keep writing. Try to come up with something, anything. It doesn’t have to be something you’ll use. You’ll discard most of what you write, and that’s fine. But you need to produce a lot of content, so that you can come up with ideas, as well as see what works and what doesn’t.
The reason why you need to write far more than you’ll ever use is that most of your initial ideas won’t be that original or creative. Your brain will come up with the obvious ideas first. Once you’ve got those down on paper, you will then start to think of more original ideas. The more you think of, the closer you get to the truly interesting ideas. So it really is a case of sifting through the garbage to find the gems.
5) Consider your environment
If your usual creative environment isn’t working for you, then try a new setting. Take a notebook out into the park or country, or sit in a coffee shop. Getting away from your everyday surroundings can work wonders. It’s hard for many people to work when they’re surrounded by noise and distractions, so look for a place where you can get away from anything that makes it hard for you to focus.
While it’s good to get away from your work space from time to time, you should also try to make it as encouraging as possible. An untidy work space can clutter your mind, but you also don’t want it to be too blank. So create a working area that gives you mental stimulation while avoiding outside interference. Add things that may spark off ideas, such as images.
If you truly want to awaken your creativity, then be aware that it’s something that needs to be worked on. 95% of what you come up with won’t make the final cut, but can still play a useful role in leading to the truly great work. So keep writing, observing, and experimenting – you’ll be astonished at what you can produce.
Brenda Savoie is a content marketing magician at Essayontime . A grammar tutor master and desperate dreamer. Writing her first romantic novel. Seeking contentment through mindfulness. Find her on
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