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Writer's Block


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Alright so we've all hit it... probably multiple times. The dreaded writer's block. What are some things you guys do to help yours? I pretty much just drop everything related to music (and yes it's as hard as it sounds.. I see music wherever I go) and try to enjoy something that I enjoyed before I started playing guitar (i.e. lift weights, play catch with a friend, go for a drive *without music*, for a walk around the block, etc..). What about you guys?

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Yeah, sometimes getting away for a break can help... but I do a few things that I think help... probably others I can't think of now...

I push myself NOT to qualify ideas as I write. At the stage of a writing block i find I over qualify the ideas "That won't work" "It doesn't quite say what I mean""It's cheesy" etc.... I drop all those kind of qualification of ideas in favor of maintaining flow and encouraging creative thought.

I make myself write about the simplest of subjects, for example "A black ball point pen". Amazing what you can write about a pen... sure it wont make a finished lyric, but that is not the point... the point is to get the ideas flowing

I play with words and sounds

I write more poetry, prose whatever...

When I start writing in a more serious attempt at lyrics, when getting passed a writing block, I sometimes try a pen name... it's amazing the psychological shackles we use when we are creating work that will represent us. You may worry about "Is it up to standard" "It's not the kind of thing I would write about" "It would show me in a bad light" etc.. but if you write under a pen name or 10 then that goes out the window allowing a less constrained approach to writing. As of yet I have never posted a finished work under a pen name... if they get to a point where they are working you can drop the pen name, if they suck well they stay on your pad or puter... but at the time of writing I need to believe that "I am not writing as me". Just a trick to play on yourself... and it works. You could say "i am not going to publish it" but then that robs some of the motivation... this way the same job is accomplished without demotivating you....

The last trick is also great for changing perspective... your persona could be a ghetto dweller, the opposite sex,brad pitt, michael jackson's doctor.... in fact the more eccentric the persona change the more liberating it can be as a writer.

cheers

John

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  • 4 weeks later...

This is when I have fun revising a song already a hit!

Basically, I'll take a song that I like the flow and feel, but where the lyrics didn't hit home for me, and I'll start changing the lyrics to better suit me.

I know it won't be usable, but its easier for me to change words when the emotions are already in front of me - so I've done this plenty of times when I was having trouble with my own original works.

I actually got one of those in the poet critique - 'Living for Me' revised from 'Hero of War' by Rise Against. 'Hero of War' is a very emotional song with amazing lyrics, but since I have never been a soldier, and don't know too many soldiers, it didn't hit me hard enough, it felt like I was observing other blind people, when I know I'm part of the blind!!!

So I changed the lyrics to reflect my blindness. It really seemed to help, as I wrote my next original about a week afterward.

I tend to take a small break first though(probably smoke a joint or 2 too, lol), if I'm still having difficulty when I get back into writing, thats when I do my revising just to help keep the pen moving and my mind working. It's a cheesey trick that has helped me - it helps me get more emotional sometimes too, as I don't always let all my emotions go - but when revising, and the emotions are already presented, I seem to let go a little easier too!

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