How to Beat Writer’s Block

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Artists of all disciplines are sometimes faced with the phenomenon commonly known as “Writers Block.”In these times, we face a lack of creative inspiration, and as a result, our creative output can slow to a halt. What I wish to offer here are a few suggestions on how to cope with writer’s block, how to write while under writer’s block, and how to prevent it (or at least reduce the drop in work output) in the future.

Composing is a habit. Set up a regular time (or times) daily to write (mine is usually before breakfast and after dinner). Perhaps you will come up with nothing good, or something small, but it is important to make writing a habit. For me, this is often sitting at a piano and improvising, looking for a small idea and coming up with little or nothing. You can throw out or revise the bad ideas, and start fresh the next day. However, you cannot get ideas if you do not write regularly. Have that set routine, and ideas will sometimes come more regularly. This can help ward off periods of writer’s block and can be a way to get back on track when you feel it coming on.

Can writer’s block be prevented entirely? I am not sure that anyone could say a resounding “yes!” However, there are things one can do to still be creative while under writer’s block. For example, I would suggest keeping a library of ideas on one’s computer, or a sketchpad of ideas in a drawer. When you have an idea, write it down or enter it into your computer for later. When you have worked it out as much as possible, save it for later. I often find myself looking back at old projects when I feel uninspired, and find a spark of an idea which has incubated in my subconscious. For example, I have an upcoming publication with Excelcia Music Publications (Zombie Attack! Grade 2 concert band) for which I had the entire introduction orchestrated, but nothing else. I filed it away for a year and came back this spring when I was facing writer’s block. I was surprised by the wealth of ideas that came from that alone. 

Writer’s block can feel lonely. My final suggestion is this: constantly seek out music. Listen to something new; attend a concert; or work with a friend or mentor whom you enjoy. Share a small idea from your drawer of ideas with someone, and see what they think, or whether they can offer suggestions. Remember, music is collaborative! Best of wishes, and happy creating!

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Jason uses his experience as a music educator to create fresh and melodic music, drawing inspiration from popular styles like rock and metal, as well as the avant-garde of the past century.