Joker Tone Course - 7 tips to overcome a songwriting block

7 tips to overcome a songwriting block

When you get stuck and need to overcome a songwriting block

We all get stuck from time to time. It’s a universal experience that surpasses the boundaries of age, occupation, or passion. Whether you’re a seasoned songwriter or just beginning to explore the world of music creation, there inevitably comes a moment when inspiration seems to evade you like a fleeting shadow. You feel you are stuck and need to overcome a songwriting block.

It can happen on any day of the week, during a lazy afternoon or a bustling weekend. You sit down with your instrument, a blank page, or a recording device, ready to pour out your soul into the melody and lyrics, only to find yourself staring at nothingness. Your mind feels like a desolate wasteland, devoid of the spark that ignites creativity.

At first, it might seem like a minor inconvenience, a hiccup in the creative process. But as time goes by and the blockade persists, it can become increasingly daunting. The fear creeps in, whispering doubts and insecurities into the recesses of your mind. What if this is it? What if I’ve lost my touch? Will I ever be able to write again and overcome a songwriting block?

But amidst the darkness of a songwriter’s blockade, there is a glimmer of hope. It’s a reminder that creativity is not a finite resource, but a boundless wellspring waiting to be tapped into. Every so often all it takes is a change of perspective, a change of scenery, or a moment of reflection to make inspiration come back.

A music writer’s block can stem from various factors, similar to writer’s block experienced in other creative fields. Here are some potential reasons why you might get stuck and need to overcome a songwriting block:

Lack of Inspiration

As a musician and songwriter, you could struggle to find inspiration or ideas for new music. This can happen due to personal circumstances, creative fatigue, or feeling disconnected from your creative muse.


Striving for perfection can sometimes hinder your creativity. As a songwriter, you may get stuck in a cycle of self-doubt or overly critical self-editing, making it difficult to progress with your creative work.

Fear of Failure

The fear of not being able to create something as good as previous work or as good as your peers can be paralyzing. This fear of failure can prevent you as a songwriter from even starting a new project or continuing work on existing ones.

Technical Challenges

Sporadically, you may encounter technical challenges related to your craft, such as difficulty with music theory, arrangement, or production techniques. These challenges can create barriers to the creative process.

External Pressures

Pressure from internal or external deadlines, expectations from fans or record labels, or financial pressures can all contribute to writer’s block. The pressure to make something magical can sometimes stop creativity from coming out.

Emotional Blocks

Personal issues, mental health struggles, or unresolved emotions can also impact your writer’s ability to create. Emotional blocks can manifest as a lack of motivation, energy, or focus.

Creative Burnout

Overworking oneself or experiencing burnout from the demands of being a musician or songwriter can lead to a depletion of creative energy. Taking on too many projects or not allowing enough time for rest and rejuvenation can exacerbate this issue.

Lack of Variety

Sticking to the same creative routines or musical styles without exploring new ideas or genres can lead to stagnation and eventually writer’s block. You are stuck in a cycle without a view to another side or out of your comfort zone.

External Distractions

Distractions such as social media, personal relationships, or other obligations can divert your attention away from the creative process, making it difficult for you to focus on your writing work.

Physical Health Issues

Health problems or physical discomfort can also impede the creative process. Fatigue, illness, or chronic pain can make it challenging to concentrate and engage with music writing.

It’s during these moments of uncertainty that the creative spirit feels most fragile. The very act of creation, which once brought joy and fulfillment, now feels like a daunting challenge to overcome a songwriting block. You find yourself grappling with self-doubt, questioning your abilities, and wondering if you’ll ever break free from this creative rut.

Did you find yourself in any of the examples above?

I can tell you that many of these happened to me as well, more than one time. And at every stage, I stand up and get back on track. Here are seven tips of mine to overcome a songwriting block.

1) Jam on Drum Track

Jamming to a rough drum take is like embarking on a musical adventure. To begin, immerse yourself in the rhythm, feeling the pulse of the beat coursing through you. Let the drums dictate the groove and guide your fingers.

Start by establishing a solid foundation, locking into the rhythm laid down by the drums. From there, explore different chord progressions, riffs, and melodies, allowing your creativity to flow freely. Don’t be afraid to take risks or try unconventional ideas; the beauty of jamming lies in its spontaneity and experimentation.

Listen closely to the nuances of the drum take, responding dynamically to changes in tempo and intensity. Embrace the imperfections and unpredictability of the rough take, using them as opportunities to innovate and explore new musical territories.

Above all, approach the jam with an open mind and a willingness to let the music guide you on a journey of sonic discovery.

You could use a virtual Drum plugin like form Toontrack EZDrummer

Or if you are a Logic Pro User you might try out Logic virtual drummer (Link to a great guide from the Pro Mixing Academy)

2) Listen to unknown music and jam to it

To overcome a songwriting block, jamming to a known song, for example on the guitar, is a gratifying form of musical expression. It starts with familiarizing yourself with the song and absorbing its chord progressions and melody.

Begin by mastering the basic structure, then add your flair. Experiment with different strumming patterns, embellishments, and chord variations to make the song your own. The essence of jamming lies in conveying emotion and feeling through your playing.

Stay attuned to the dynamics, phrasing, and expression, allowing the music’s mood to guide you. Embrace mistakes as opportunities for creativity and exploration. Jamming is a collaborative process, even if you’re playing alone. Listen closely to the song as you play, adapting to changes in dynamics and tempo.

Stay present in the moment, letting go of distractions and worries. Consider recording your sessions to reflect on your progress. Most importantly, have fun! Jamming is a chance to revel in the joy of making music and expressing yourself freely on the guitar.

Did you know I like this side to explore new and mostly fresh independent artists for new inspiration.

3) Cover a new song and learn from it

Covering a known music song offers valuable learning opportunities. By dissecting its structure, melodies, and lyrics, you gain insights into songwriting techniques. Mimicking the original artist’s style helps to evolve your musical skills and expands your repertoire.

It can take you out of the pressure and lets you overcome a songwriting block by analyzing chord progressions and arrangements. At the same time, it will enhance your understanding of music theory. Performing covers also develop your stage presence and confidence.

Additionally, it cultivates your ear for nuances in tone and phrasing. Each cover is a lesson in interpretation and expression, allowing you to infuse your unique voice into familiar melodies. Overall, covering known songs is a practical and enriching way to grow as a musician.

4) Start using another instrument than your main preferred

Using a different instrument than your primary one, such as starting with the bass instead of the guitar, can catalyze creativity and let you overcome a songwriting block. Each instrument offers unique tonal possibilities and playing techniques, sparking fresh ideas.

Working on the bass first might lead to inventive bass lines that drive the song’s rhythm and melody in unexpected directions. It shifts your perspective, fostering experimentation and breaking habitual patterns.

Moreover, exploring diverse instruments enriches your musical vocabulary and understanding, enhancing your ability to compose multifaceted compositions. Ultimately, this approach broadens your creative horizons, yielding innovative and dynamic songs.

5) Get outside and do something entirely different (let the world inspire you)

Stepping outside and immersing oneself in the world can be a powerful catalyst to overcome a songwriting block. Observing life unfold in real-time, from the bustling streets to the quiet corners, offers a wealth of inspiration.

The sights, sounds, and emotions encountered provide rich material for lyrical storytelling and musical expression. Engaging with nature, people, and everyday experiences sparks creativity and authenticity in songwriting.

It breathes life into compositions, infusing them with genuine narratives and heartfelt emotions. Ultimately, venturing beyond the confines of one’s usual space opens doors to new perspectives and fresh ideas, enriching the creative process.

6) Stop the new song — work on an old one and improve that

When facing a writing block on a new track, shifting focus to an older piece can be liberating. Revisiting past work allows for improvement and offers a fresh perspective.

By immersing oneself in familiar material, insights, and ideas often emerge organically. The act of refining older compositions can reignite creativity and confidence, breaking the deadlock on the new track.

Additionally, exploring different musical landscapes fosters a cross-pollination of ideas. Techniques or motifs refined in the older piece may seamlessly find their way into the new composition, infusing it with renewed energy and inspiration, ultimately transcending the initial blockage.

7) For guitar, use an open tuning / Change the tune with a capo

Using a capo or experimenting with open tunings on the guitar can ignite creativity and inspire new songwriting directions. The altered sound and feel of the instrument unlock fresh melodic and harmonic possibilities, breaking away from familiar patterns.

A capo can transform chord shapes and voicing, leading to unique progressions and melodies. Open tunings, on the other hand, create resonant and unconventional sounds, encouraging the exploration of new sonic landscapes.

These tools prompt experimentation, encouraging songwriters to approach composition from different angles. They breathe life into ideas, sparking inspiration and fostering a sense of musical discovery, ultimately enriching the songwriting process.

TIP: Open Tunings on Guitar guide from the Positive Grid Blog

Conclusion on overcoming a songwriting block

Don’t feel bad when the songwriter’s blockade happens!

Experiencing a writing blockade is not an indication of inadequacy or failure; it is a natural part of the creative process that affects us all at some point. Understanding that this struggle is universal can alleviate feelings of self-doubt or frustration. It’s essential to recognize that even the most accomplished writers encounter moments of stagnation.

Instead of dwelling on the blockade, focus on the myriad of strategies available to overcome it. Whether it’s seeking inspiration from different sources, collaborating with others, or simply taking a break to recharge, there are countless ways to navigate through creative obstacles.

Importantly, remember that creativity cannot be forced; sometimes, allowing yourself time to step back and gain perspective is all that’s needed. To overcome a songwriting block is an opportunity to explore new ideas and approaches, trusting that breakthroughs will come to their time. By reframing writing blockades as part of the creative journey rather than impediments, you can cultivate resilience and continue to grow as a writer.

So, if you find yourself facing a songwriter’s blockade, know that you’re not alone. It’s a journey that every artist must navigate at some point in their creative endeavors. Embrace the challenge, trust in your abilities, and believe that this too shall pass. And when the melodies start to flow once again, you’ll emerge from the darkness stronger, wiser, and ready to share your music with the world.

Overcoming a songwriting block often involves a combination of self-reflection, experimentation, and finding strategies to stimulate creativity. This may include seeking inspiration from other art forms, collaborating with other musicians, or exploring new environments.

Sometimes a break is all you need!

What helped you to overcome a songwriting block? Let me hear your story and send me a message.

If you have further questions or want to get in contact, please consider using the contact form

Niels from Joker Tone Course

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