How to choose the best music publisher?
As a creative, you will inevitably run into a creative block. Because the modern way of producing music is constantly changing, full of pitfalls and infinite opportunities, making music requires passion and perseverance. Falling into a creative rut, which can include endless tweaks, scrapping entire projects, and feeling defeated, is a natural part of the creative process.
It’s not so much about avoiding creative droughts as it is about knowing how to navigate and respond to them when they occur.
Working with good people and using the right tools are important, but what separates successful musicians from the rest is the desire to keep going.
1. Make fun time a priority.
Change the pace and set aside some studio time to “play” without any objectives or goals, rather than setting yourself up for another day of “work.” In your business-oriented, got-to-get-this-done mindset, you’d never consider exploring your tools, trying out crazy techniques, and looking into processing chains.
As a result of this exercise, a chain reaction will occur, freeing up space in your brain to respond to new stimuli and new ideas. You’ll almost certainly find a few nuggets of inspiration that will serve as a springboard for future tracks and production in ways you never imagined. Free time, according to Zen Buddhism, allows you to access your “beginner’s mind,” a state in which everything is new, fresh, and exciting. This is the time to let go of all preconceived notions.
Make music exciting again: You’ll be able to count the eighth note before you hit a creative wall.
2. Get out of the rut you’re in.
When you’re unmotivated, it’s exhausting to try to get things done. Stepping away and doing something else may seem counterintuitive, but it may be exactly what is required. How to deal with creative blocks: For centuries, simply going for a walk has been the go-to creative block-buster. The meditative, trance-like state that occurs when you hit the path, sidewalk, or pavement has long been recognized by writers, artists, and musicians.
Get out of the studio and gain some perspective, whether you go for a run or indulge in some classic #NetflixandChill. Rekindle your enthusiasm for learning about different aspects of the world. Your inspiration tank will naturally be replenished, and your creative juices will begin to flow.
If you don’t feel like working in the studio right now, at the very least clear some space in your mind and get moving. Allow your subconscious to cook up a new batch of delectable new ideas and perspectives.
3. Familiarize yourself with the fear and alter your behavior.
Fear is the polar opposite of creativity. We frequently look back on our past experiences to determine how we should proceed, but this can be a dangerous path to take if you don’t take the right approach. Fear can be validated by self-doubt, and habitual thinking can sabotage your creative impulses (which are unconventional by nature).
If “doing the same thing and expecting a different result” is the definition of insanity, it’s time to examine your workflow when creating music, especially in the early stages.
Is there anything you do exactly the same way every time? Find two or three things you do on a regular basis and forbid yourself from doing them for a period of time. In fact, if there’s an approach that’s the polar opposite of your usual behavior, try it and see if it helps you break through a creative block.
Artists have a long history of jolting themselves out of their usual creative processes in order to keep moving forward and explore their full creative potential. The Beatles reinvented themselves as Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in 1967, when they felt trapped by the incredibly famous identity they’d created.
Both personally and musically, David Bowie and Bob Dylan are masters of reinvention and alter-egos. Beyoncé got in on the act with her Sasha Fierce alter-ego, which she created to tap into a particular aspect of her creativity. When Sonny Moore (former singer of post-punk band From First To Last) switched genres and became Skrillex, he seemed to reach the pinnacle of his creative potential.
We’re not suggesting you don capes and facepaint to channel your inner Ziggy Stardust, but try experimenting with how you can inject some spontaneity into your work. Make an electronic pop track if you’re a metalhead. Try an ambient piece if you only listen to drum and bass (or other beat-heavy genres). You can work your way out of — or around — any creative block by adding new color to your voice.
4. Keep the creative and editing processes separate.
It’s far too easy to confuse the two distinct parts of the creative process when using a computer to make music. While having infinite “undo” and tweakable options is fantastic, it can also lead to us self-editing, criticizing, and undermining our own ideas. It’s critical to let go of the notion that each of your productions will be a masterpiece (or even successes). Relax.
Get in the habit of churning out ideas at a faster pace, allowing the creative process to unfold at its own pace. Apply your critical scalpel later, from a different perspective, to edit and improve these ideas.
5. The best way to be creative is to forget about it.
What do you do when you’ve been working on a project for too long and don’t feel like you can abandon it or move on while it’s still staring you down in your project folder? “Putting it in a drawer” is a well-known term among novelists and fiction writers for putting a project aside (e.g. out of sight and out of mind) for months at a time.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” took Queen singer Freddie Mercury seven years to complete. He was constantly putting it away and then returning to it. If the work is still on your mind after a while, you know it’s worth continuing to work on. You’ll be able to see it in a new light as well. While burying a project can be painful, you may find that by not thinking about it, you’ve freed up your mind to come up with newer, better ideas.
6. Spend less time rather than more.
Although we clearly need to set aside time and exert some effort in order to get anywhere, this isn’t the full story of how the creative process (and our minds) operate. We frequently fall into the trap of believing that we must remain seated at our studio desk in order to overcome creative obstacles. This adds to the sense that it’s a chore that needs to be checked off a to-do list.
The best solution is, once again, the most counterintuitive. Limit the amount of time you allow yourself to spend on any aspect of the production. Consider it a game: “All right, I’ve got exactly 10 minutes to create this drum pattern.” It’s amazing how a time limit can short-circuit our critical thinking abilities. Rather than obsessing over the details, record your tracks. If it needs to be cleaned up later, you can always come back. Most of the time, it won’t require much polishing.
Remember that one of the most appealing aspects of well-crafted music is its rawness and sense of spontaneous creation. When we have deadlines, something interesting happens: we somehow finish what we need to finish (and nothing more), resulting in stripped-down, vital productions with a sense of urgency and life.
The Velvet Underground, for example, went back into the studio after their carefully positioned debut album failed to chart in the United States (and was then further hampered by legal complications). The band recorded the classic “White Light/White Heat” in just two days, frustrated and energized. They recorded “Sister Ray” in a single take, accepting any “mistakes” as part of the song.
Bob Dylan recorded Bringing It All Back Home in just three days in 1965. Surprisingly, they only used takes from the previous two days for the album. Over a million copies of the album were sold. When the Beatles went to Abbey Road Studios in 1963 to record their debut album with producer George Martin, they essentially performed their live set into two microphones. The band recorded 10 songs in just 13 hours.
7. Use fewer tools rather than more.
Distraction can take many different forms. If you work as a creative at a desk, the temptation to jump online when you’re frustrated, check in on social media, or watch cat videos can be overwhelming. However, a more subtle form of distraction can come from the very thing we’re trying to concentrate on: our studio gear. DAWs, plugins, MIDI controllers, synths, and apps are fantastic — until they overwhelm you with options and leave you paralyzed.
In order to break out of a creative rut, more equipment isn’t always better.
See if you can make a complete track with only a single VST synth and no other FX, plugins, samples, or processing (aside from what your synth offers). You’ll be surprised at how much more focused and productive you can be if you limit your creative options.
8. Alter your surroundings
When they’re stuck in a creative rut, bands and artists frequently relocate to new locations to write or record. Although we can’t all go to Hansa Studios or Muscle Shoals on the spur of the moment, the principle of switching environments still applies to home and bedroom producers.
Get out of your comfort zone if you want to be more creative. It’s never been easier to do a Damon Albarn and make an album on your iPad thanks to modern technology. You might also notice that when you’re wearing headphones in a public place or outside in the middle of nowhere, your music sounds different. You can always go back and agonize over your location sketches in the comfort of your studio later.
Remember that the journey can be the most inspiring aspect of visiting a new place. The concept of travel, of transitioning to new places and new realms of thought, has inspired some of the best recorded music.
9. Create a theme for your project.
When you’re unsure of what you’re trying to accomplish as a music producer, you can get stuck. Giving yourself a very specific focal point or idea around which to orient your work is one way to get around this. You won’t waste time debating whether or not something works this way.
When it comes to music production, a framing automatically gives you a specific context for your work, allowing you to escape the endless pit of possibilities. Remember that your thematic glue can be as clear or abstract as you want it to be before you start worrying about having to create a 1970s-style prog-rock concept album.
10. Give yourself a very specific focal point or idea to focus your work on.
Metallica, for example, has based several of their best songs on well-known horror and classic literature. “For Whom The Bell Tolls” was inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s 1940 novel of the same name, and “Call of Ktulu” is a reference to the unfathomable, god-like monster that first appeared in H.P. Lovecraft’s story The Call Of Cthulhu.
The sound of Jon Hopkins opening the door, stepping off the street, and into his studio opens the 2013 album Immunity. It then progresses by following the pulsing energetic ebb and flow of a great night out.
Why not try writing an alternate soundtrack to one of your favorite movies, or at the very least a scene from one of your favorite movies? This provides you with a specific beginning, end, and dramatic beats in between, as well as a concrete framework from which to refer. Or set a goal for yourself: “I’m going to write one track every day this week, no matter what.” Raising the stakes allows you to be more creative.
Nothing motivates you to get things done like public pressure. You’ll be tapping into another powerful source of inspiration if you commit to a project where the stakes are higher than your own personal creative satisfaction (e.g., where you risk disappointing others). Inform your friends, relatives, or social media followers that a new release will be available on a specific date.
Give your goal just enough publicity that you’ll be embarrassed if you don’t follow through on your promise. It’s a simple psychological ruse that frequently works.
And that’s how you beat creative block.
It’s easy to become fixated on perfecting your craft to the point where it becomes a chore rather than what it can be: A chance for unrestricted expression, genuine connection with your listeners, and pure enjoyment. Above all, we hope the points and actions outlined here give you some inspiration the next time you’re stuck in a creative rut.