Writer’s block is a real issue for many musicians. It’s a difficult thing to deal with because there’s no real rhyme or reason when it happens.
It’s just a general lack of creativity that suddenly appears without warning and doesn’t seem to go away leaving you feeling overwhelmed, depressed, or even willing to just throw in the towel.
Well, don’t get down on yourself. Every guitarist goes through this at some point in his songwriting career. You are no different than the greats, but you can learn to deal with it. Here are five tips for learning how to deal with writer’s block as a guitarist.
Most guitarists tend to get stuck in certain styles of playing that back them into a box. You know what I’m talking about. Just listen to every Disturbed album. They all sound exactly the same. Get out of your comfort zone and find some inspiration in a new style of playing or genre.
Learn a New Instrument
Often times guitar players simply get bored playing the same riffs over and over again. Don’t get stuck on one instrument. Learn a new one. This will give you a completely new perspective on music and how your guitar playing can fit into your songwriting.
For instance, learning piano could be very beneficial for any guitarist. It will help them with not only melody organization, but it will also help them learn arrangements that are beyond the scope of normal guitar playing.
Listen to New Music
We all have our go-to five or six bands that we love listening to. It’s a comfort zone. You put on Zepplin for the 1,000th time and just tune out. Instead of doing that, find something new to listen to. Get an album from a genre that you never listen to and try to figure out how their songs are put together.
Pay attention to the melodies, vocal lines, and grooves. See if there is anything in there that you can bring back to your style of playing and songwriting.
Take Guitar Lessons
You might think you are too old to take guitar lessons or too advanced, but you aren’t. No one is. You just have to find a teacher that can show you something that you don’t already know. A site like Guitar Repair Bench reviews many different types of lessons and explains what to look for in a guitar teacher.
The main thing is that you find someone who can teach you a new style or technique. For instance, if you play rock guitar, you might want to think about taking classical guitar lessons. This will not only expand your musical abilities, but it will also give you more tools to build your rock songs and solos. After all, Yngwie made some serious rock/metal tunes with the influence of Bach.
You can add these types of chops to your arsenal with the right guitar teacher.
Take a Break
This is often an overlooked tip to get over writer’s block because it involves not doing anything. Sometimes you flood your mind too much that it can’t work anymore. A lot of the time that’s where writer’s block comes from. Too many ideas. Too much going on. Too much noise.
Sometimes it’s best to simply take a break and get away from everything. Stop playing guitar and writing songs for a few days or even a week. Let your mind focus on other things and then come back to your songs with a fresh mind and a fresh set of ears. You’ll be amazed at how your creativity comes back after a vacation.
Well, that’s it. There are my top five tips for getting over a guitar player’s worst nightmare: writer’s block. Obviously, these don’t always work for everyone. We are all different and need different things to keep our mind going and our creativity flowing, but this is a good start.
Next time you feel like you are running into a brick wall creatively, try one of these tips and see if it helps you bring back your creative juices without losing your mind.