I've never been a particularly prolific songwriter but I used to be able to sit down and write a song. I'm mid 20's now and have been singing all my life, playing bass and piano for 11 years and guitar a bit longer. I've definitely gone through that early musical slump a long time ago and this feels different.
I just feel like my creativity has completely died, it's been over a year since I last wrote a song. Admittedly I've had a couple of production projects over that time which went really well as well as my band of 5 years still soldiering on, but if I try to sit down and write I just get completely overwhelmed by not having any ideas and it's breaking me up and I don't know what to do about it.
I've had a bit of a tough year in general actually. Everything I'd pushed inside over the years came back to haunt me and it got quite dark in the summer, I'm feeling a lot better now but I still just can't come up with anything at all. I'm a bit lost really. Anyway, I've attached the last song I wrote so you can see why this is pissing me off so much. I love doing this stuff man, it's where I get to express things which can't be expressed any other way and I miss it.
Sorry for the spiel, I just had to get this out somewhere. Any pointers would be hugely hugely appreciated
I'm not sure if you're into effects at all, but I know when I have blockage, I sit down with my looper or my delay pedals and start fiddling. As stated, the more you focus on it and try and try, the harder it's going to be. You just have to start fiddling. It sucks being uninspired. Sometimes a good free flow jam session with the boys helps too. Are you guys just practicing what you normally do like your songs or do you guys jam out ever?
Does anyone else in the band come up with ideas.? Work together on songwriting.
Unless you're the "I gotta do it all on my own" type.
Oh yeah, I forgot this one too. I'll write tons of riffs all the time and being them to practice and my guitarist will bounce something off of what I wrote then I'll do the same. Before we know after about an hour, we're well on our way to having a song written.
Set up strange musical "problems" to solve. Use dice to generate a random chord progression, and then try to write a bass line that smoothly connects and outlines that progression. Program a drum machine in a deliberately random, haphazard fashion, and attempt to groove along with the results.
Lyrics? Any experience you have, no matter how seemingly banal, is grist for the mill if it affects you emotionally. The only thing left to do is make it rhyme.
Thinking along completely different lines: do you listen to a lot of different music, or are you mainly stuck in one genre? Broadening your horizons as a listener will often broaden your horizons in your writing, IME.
Originally Posted by JimmyM
...and all of the soul-sucking forces out there who think I should fulfill their idea of what I should be doing as a bass player can suck their own souls.
I have found that stress is the biggest drain on creativity for me. I first learned this about myself a few months after my divorce, when my creativity started to flood back. If you have nasty, distracting stuff going on in your life, it can really drag down your ability to create.
Is music your only creative outlet? If so maybe try something outside your comfort zone.
I do things other than music and while the processes differ it all really comes from the same place.
Take a look at The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. While there's some stuff in the book that didn't resonate with me at all, it does have quite a bit of a religious tone, but the exercises were very helpful for me
Op, I feel you I have been in a rut for a while. Jamming with people as some suggested can help but that hasn't even been doing it completely even my riffs just aren't as creative anymore.
As you mentioned op tough times can drain you I had a rough few years life is great now but really busy I practice with a band once a week we have some gigs we do great as a cover band but originals is harder but I have a strategy for that actually that I'm almost sure will work.
I am not trying to make this about me just trying to let you know op I empathize with you. It's not my business what your tough year was but I hope you got people to reach out too but don't keep that in.
Be aware life style change can drain you too. One idea I had the guitarist in my group is newer good but new sometimes teaching can pull you out of a rut.
There's some great suggestions here good thread.
Last edited by ImNotJoel : 01-23-2014 at 06:02 AM.
Songwriting for me is a reflection of your most deeply emotions, feelings, life experiences and expression of the soul. Bad experiences in your life can be a motivation to write songs, not all the songs are reflection of happiness, if you feel melancholic, well write about it. Also use some resources like chord progressions for example I vi ii I in any key and play with that a little bit, try to sing a melody and create the lyrics. Watching Nature inspire me, almost a divorce inspire me too, falling in love, loosing my Mom too. Just let your emotions flow, be honest with yourself and write about how you feel at this moment of your life. Let it flow, you have the talent, use it and let that feelings flow freely from your Soul.
You could try picking up a lesser-played instrument or learn a new one altogether. Just getting the feel for playing something completely different tends to change improvisation patterns and bring out different angles of one's own sound.
Building on the stress angle, I've frequently found myself extremely prolific just on other side of a stressful period.
I play metal and I used to write stuff all the time for my band, but 4 years ago when I quit said band, I sorta quit writing too. I'd try but just never could come up with anything I liked, but I've recently started listening to quite a bit of punk again (I was a big punk rocker before I really discovered metal) and kept getting ideas for songs. I finally decided one day that I might as well try and record some of those ideas just to get them down and blam, I'm playing all the time again. After pushing myself for years trying to get more and more technical, it was nice to just lay down some basic punk power chords with some cool pentatonic bass runs underneath, and I feel like this is the first time in awhile I've really had a lot of fun playing again.
Maybe that's what you need, to just go back to basics or a genre change up. Its working for me.
Thanks everyone, quite a few bits and pieces to chew over in here had a couple of beers last night and listened through a few of my old cubase projects which are unfinished. Some gave me quite a chuckle but there's definitely quite a few things in there which I can work with.
Slough, I'll be back on the bike after having some time off due to broken foot (gig related injuries...) and I'm planning on going travelling this year. If I write about dating though I'll just end up sounding like Peter Green. I've used my phone as a recorder in the past, wrote a whole reggae song while stoned in a van on the way back from a festival that way haha.
Thanks again all, I'll readjust my outlook a bit I guess. I've been finding it too difficult to fight through the frustration of just sitting there getting nothing done.
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