Are you stuck and looking to beat writer's block as a music producer? I feel you. Not being able to come up with anything in the studio is the most frustrating thing that happens to you as a producer.
Defining what writer's block is can be difficult. Some call it an excuse. Others call it the harmless resistance found when we do difficult, meaningful work. But how 'harmless' is it really if it consistently stands between you and your goals of finishing more music in Ableton Live?
Here are our four ways to make you effectively beat the writer's block, every time you are struggling in the studio.
1. See the Bigger Picture of Your Track
Newer producers might think it is writer's block the moment they fight to add more musical parts to their initial eight or sixteen-bar loop. Take a step back and remember that with music, less is always more.
The music itself can often tell a producer when it is ready for the next stage in the creative process. Don't call it writer's block if you have enough material to make a whole track, while you hesitate to know where to take it next.
Transitioning from a simple loop to a fully fleshed-out track can be a tough jump if you approach the process blindly, and certainly can cause a sense of writer's block. Dropping one of your favorite professionally-produced tracks into your Ableton Project file can help give you a reference on how and where you introduce your elements. Our Arrangement Course takes this approach one step further. You will learn not only how to arrange your tracks, but why these arrangement techniques work flawlessly in electronic music. Included are also added tricks to give the structure of your music a professional edge.
- Dropping a reference track into the Ableton Project will also help you recognize what your track is lacking compared to finished, mastered records.
- Keep a running checklist of what needs to be added or taken away from your track will keep your eyes and ears on the bigger picture of what makes a track complete.
2. Recognize Your Weaknesses
A silver lining of writer's block is that it reveals our weaknesses.
Similarly to how we struggle to lift weights too heavy for us, we also experience resistance while doing creative work when we encounter something we struggle with. It can be very telling if you quickly enter a flow state of creativity when composing chords, but writer's block creeps at the moment you begin designing a new patch from scratch.
Be mindful of the production moves you are making and the moments where you discover the most resistance while producing. Next time you are hitting a block with a track you are working on, it might be a sign that you should devote the rest of the studio day to learning more about whatever is holding you back. Spending a single day dedicated to learning sound design may not produce a track. Still, remember it will save you maybe weeks of frustration every time you open your DAW.
3. Learn From The Experts
Watching professional producer's work can be beneficial in many ways.
You gain insight into their workflow, see how they create their sounds, and even peek at what sample packs and plugin-ins they are using.
A Start-to-Finish Course lets you watch a professionally-produced track come to life before your eyes. Follow along easily with the included project files and copy all expert techniques instantly.
Tip: Just because a course is labeled 'Start-to-Finish' does not mean you need to watch it in order. If you are experiencing writer's block when composing specific parts of your track, reference what the professionals do before and after the section that makes you struggle. Referencing professionals help you approach producing in different ways, and lets you direct your workflow as you'll know the next steps to take.
4. Get in the Proper Headspace
The best way to handle writer's block is never to have it in the first place. While this may seem easier said than done, setting yourself for success at the start of the day or production session is one of the best things you can do for your creativity. And to stop writer's block in its path.
We talked about the benefits of having a producer-focused morning routine in a previous article, so start stacking a handful of positive habits early on that work for you. You will soon notice the added benefits affect your life even outside of music, leading to less intense and infrequent writer's block.
Professional producers also get writer's block
It is important to remember that even professional producers experience writer's block as often as amateurs.
Still, a professional's years of experience have taught them two critical lessons that keep them moving forward:
- The first lesson is simplistic confidence knowing that they WILL WORK past the writer's block in time.
- The second is systematic approaches to music production that they have learned over the years spent in the studio.
Production Music Live has countless hand-crafted hours of high-quality courses to streamline your creative workflow and make your music sound better. The compositional tutorials, start-to-finish guides, and more ensures nothing stops you from finishing more music at a professional level.