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Can't write music any more??

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by joebingo, Jan 22, 2014.

  1. joebingo


    Aug 23, 2006
    London, UK
    Hey all,

    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 :bassist:

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 16, 2014
  2. M0ses


    Sep 11, 2009
    Los Angeles
    The secret to having good idea is having lots and lots of bad ideas.

    Also, the secret to having any ideas at all is simply pretending you do.
  3. ZenG


    Dec 13, 2013
    Near the fridge
    Sometimes when one sits there racking their brain for songs, great hooklines, etc etc etc....it doesn't come...

    First thing.....forget about writing a million seller :)))
    Just write.

    Write anything.......if you can't think of anything...then write about how you can't think of anything.....

    Emotionally flat?.......then write about that.

    Write little bits of ideas.....you can edit it all later.....

  4. gregmon79

    gregmon79 I did it for the muff... Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Chicago IL
    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?
  5. tangentmusic

    tangentmusic A figment of our exaggeration

    Aug 17, 2007
    One word: Collaborate

    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.
  6. AaronVonRock


    Feb 22, 2013
    Go back and listen to your favorite music which inspired you to play in the first place and then rip it off, but don't be too obvious about it.

    Playing with some effects at home can lead to new ideas, too.

    Jam with other people.
  7. gregmon79

    gregmon79 I did it for the muff... Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Chicago IL

    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.
  8. exercise



    those are my 3 big ones.

    get a little digital voice recorder, keep it with you at all times, and when you get an idea, even just a piece of a riff, sing it into the voice recorder and save.

    Then when you do finally sit down and have time to write an actual song, you will have plenty of places to start and pieces to fit together.
  9. Mikio


    Feb 21, 2009
    Santiago de Chile
    You have to go for it, even if you feel out of ideas, write a lot of things, you like them or not, work around them, and magic will come
  10. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Frat-Pack Sympathizer

    Aug 11, 2012
    Upstate NY, USA
    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.
  11. 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.
  12. ZenG


    Dec 13, 2013
    Near the fridge
    I agree with Slough Feg Bass's idea about taking a small voice recorder with you to places.....or if not that then at least a small notepad and pencil.

    You never know where or when an idea will pop into your mind.....

    And a lot of them don't stick around...unless you have a tack sharp memory.

    Sometimes the LOCATION that you are writing in has a big bearing on the case...

    Try different places to go to do a little writing....

    I hate writing in a room I have in the basement.....the vibes just don't do it for me there.....

    I write upstairs in another room...and I get better results.

    The best lines always hit me when I'm on my way driving to some place.
  13. Thick McRunfast

    Thick McRunfast Not just good, good enough

    Sep 30, 2012
    Portland, Oregon USA
    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
  14. ImNotJoel


    Jan 12, 2014
    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.
  15. xabicho

    xabicho Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2009
    Long Beach, California
    Roger Guitars
    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.
  16. carpcutter


    Dec 6, 2010
    ^^^^^^^^All of this

    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.
  17. 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.
  18. joebingo


    Aug 23, 2006
    London, UK
    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.
  19. ZenG


    Dec 13, 2013
    Near the fridge
    I just can't write no more
    Sitting here staring at the door
    Looking at the floor
    Wonderin' what the hell it's all for

    I just can't write right
    In this light

    Not like there's nothing to express
    Lately things are a bit of a mess
    Ain't writin' nothing
    Signed under duress....

    Just can't write no more
    These days the earth is flat
    Standing at the home-plate
    But I ain't got no bat

    I just can't write
    In this light
  20. joebingo


    Aug 23, 2006
    London, UK
    So, I met a girl and started writing again. I'm so edgy.....

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 16, 2014