Writer’s Block & Breakdowns
Songwriting and music production is going to be hard, especially for anyone who is just starting their music journey. Anyone who says differently is not doing you any favors. This is not to say that you can’t simplify the process & develop habits that can assist you when the going gets rough but nobody creates in a place that is void of self-doubt or feeling stuck.
Breakdowns are a normal part of the process
When you understand that getting stuck or feeling lost is a normal part of the process, it can no longer hurt you. You will come to the understanding that by simply keeping yourself moving forward, you will move past the discomfort & begin to gain your confidence again.
In fact, breakthroughs and peak states of creativity very often follow a creatively low period. With repetition of pushing yourself through the process, breakdowns will usually become shorter & shorter. For me, that “stuck” feeling or the “this sucks” period usually lasts for 2-3 days before I get my 2nd wind & start feeling good about things again.
It’s normal. I can’t repeat this enough to make you believe me, but with experience, it will certainly become clear to you.
You are just experiencing fear that you have either lost your magic or that you never really had it. The secret you have to understand is that there is no magic. There is only process & a consistent work ethic.
Comparing yourself to others
Comparing your work to the work of others is a double edged sword & it’s one I would encourage you to practice but please be humble & realistic. To obsess about the gap between your experience and theirs is a big no-no. You should instead be focused on how with each new composition, you are closing that gap.
You are going to need to balance the process of “listen, create, do the best you can, Repeat”. Most people get stuck on the “do the best you can”. We as artists & as people expect so much of ourselves, that we have a hard time accepting when we have given the best we can in this moment. Allowing ourselves to call a piece of work done & moving to the next piece is the secret to success that nobody wants to acknowledge.
Doing the best you can and calling something “done” when you have reached your current skill limitations, is about the most important habit that you can develop. If you are using Mozart as a reference and working on your very first song, can you see the poison in not calling your work done when you’ve gone as far as your current skills allow?
When listening to your reference artist, you need to consider all the years of failed or lesser quality songs that lead to the artist’s ability to create that particular song.
Take a look at any technology we now enjoy in our lives and you will find that each was a process of failing forward. A process of getting better with each attempt. Wasn’t it Edison that failed 10,000 times to create a light bulb that worked? He just happened to view his failures as discovering a new way that didn’t work, taking note & taking a different approach.
The process of getting better is one of the sweetest experiences you can have. The doubt, the struggle & the small victories. Take the time to savor this, as you will never have the chance to go back and do it all again for the first time. You’ll never be able to re-experience the person you become through this process.
It does get easier
at some point is DOES get easier. but you have to accept that nobody is going to drop you at the top of the mountain, you’ve got to climb it step by step. There is no training or tutorial that will replace experience, only some shortcuts & lessons from those who have reached where you would like to be. You can be shown the easiest path up the mountain, but you still have to do the climbing.
Improvement is addicting when you reach a bit outside the amateur level. It takes a good amount of grunt work to get to that place where things level off a bit, so be easy on yourself & understand that there is no human who doesn’t hit a creative wall from time to time. You are not abnormal or unworthy of reaching the top of your game, just because you have some rough spots.
If you are ever feeling down, bookmark this page and read through it often.
If you are still feeling down, email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
I believe in you & your journey. Keep moving forward 🙂