If you ever embark on a song writing challenge such as FAWM www.fawm.org (February Album Writing Month as described in my last blog ) you might suffer from writers block at some point. There are a few tricks I try out when this occurs and I thought this would be a good time to share those.

  1. I don’t write all the time. I am perfectly happy to go weeks without writing any type of music and I think this helps to keep me refreshed and loaded with ideas. I usually find that something suddenly pops up that demands to be written which restarts the writing process.

So – prevent burn-out would be one thing to watch out for.

  1. I try different guitar tunings, in particular those that I have no idea how to play chords with. This forces me to create new shapes and listen to what is being produced and this really gets the creative juices going. One word of warning here is that you need to be very good at keeping records of what you were doing when you played a piece. I have quite a few recordings that I can’t remember either the tuning or the finger placements for the piece so I cant reproduce the song quite right.

Make a change to move from your comfortable go to shapes.

  1. I sometimes turn to a 12 string guitar when looking for a new idea. I don’t play it that often but I find it has a particular sound that feels right during song-writing and I have used it a few times during FAWM to get new things going. I should imagine the same would work if I went to the bass guitar or Ukulele.

Try out a different instrument to give you a new sound.

  1. There are loads of online resources that can provide song-writing ideas (tools are provided by the FAWM team to generate daily ideas: http://muse.fawm.org)

Try out online idea generators

  1. Working with other artists can be a great way to get things moving. During FAWM you can meet loads of people to work with and you might strike up a relationship that enables you to continue working once FAWM has ended. I have found that reading someone’s lyric often sparks an immediate melody line in my head that rapidly evolves into a complete song. There are 2 lyricists on FAWM in particular that if I read any of their lyrics I just have to put them to music as they just seem to sing right of the page.

Collaborate to get the juices flowing.

  1. Finally, I have found that getting out of the studio and going for a walk has often brought a new idea into focus. I will spot something whilst out walking or see someone that sparks an idea. Always carry your phone to capture the idea as I find they are often so fleeting that a minute later the idea can be gone. I know that by the time I get home the idea will have been forgotten so I always capture things straight away.

Get out of the studio for inspiration.

Next time: Social media – the thief of time