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I'm sure I'm not the only one out there who experiences a case of writers block every so often.  I'm wondering, how do you personally get over it?

I've been finishing up several projects over the last couple months, orchestrating, re-arranging, adding the last finished touch, and self-publishing.  After all that work, and being in the midst of holiday break from school (not having any assignments/compositions lessons coming up to force me to come up with stuff) I've realized that I haven't written any new material in over a month or so.  I've been playing around with some new ideas, tinkering with some themes here and there, but I just can't seem to make any headway on anything.  I can't seem to develop an idea out further than two or three minutes.

Anyone else ever have this problem, or just writers block in general?  How do you go about getting the ball rolling again?

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Personally speaking, by playing on my instrument the music of a new style or composer.

All our ideas are a synthesis of the music we've played and heard in our lives, so if our ideas run dry, it's perhaps time to re-charge our creative batteries.

Maybe even by learning a new instrument. Sounds radical, but again, this opens up a whole new insight into music-making.

Iliterally go in to compositional diarrhea mode and start writing anything that pops into my mind. Literally anything no matter how small it is.

Another thing I do is set very strict guidelines for myself, or seek out competitions that have very strict guidelines. I call it the reality show method, giving yourself restrictions for what ever reason brings out ones most creative side.

 

that is just a few things I do

I really like this idea.  Not only will it give me a specific assignment, but also a deadline.  One of the main problems I have right now is no motivation.  I've finished everything that I've got for things coming up and now I don't really have the motivation to get anything going.  If I have something telling me "you need to have this particular thing done by x/xx/11, then I have some kind of target to shoot for.

Tyler Hughes said:

seek out competitions that have very strict guidelines. I call it the reality show method, giving yourself restrictions for what ever reason brings out ones most creative side.

every now and again, I like to play with a scale I p[reviously never used, or never made anything decent with before... a member here once told me to use a different time signature, and bang, I made a piece I liked.

 

or, I try to use digital instruments I dont normally use...

 

anything really... my main thing is to incorporate some shred of music theory I hadnt before... that usually adds somethign new...

 

 

A lot of good ideas so far! I just like to try something I often avoid.

Whenever I get inspiration - anything at all - I end up grabbing my mobile phone and 'humming' into the record function. Quite amusing if I happen to be in public places! On the other hand, when you draw a 'blank', sometimes its just worth leaving it for a while and coming back to it!

When I get block I like to listen to new music, I make it a quest to find something I have not heard before. learn some riffs of it and then begin improvising sooner or later I end up with a new melody. Very much the same thing as Adrian says.

I always keep a scrapbook of melodies and rhythmic doodles that I can go back into when blocked and try to jog something out. 

 

"Writers block is a great cure for writers cramp." - Garfield the Cat

 

 

 

You can try all the kick start ideas you like, but you may need an emotional re-charge.  I find I cannot be creative continuously.  I need to have some time away from composing to get some fresh experiences and perspectives to fire me up.  A bit of travel (eg weekend away) or a good film helps me to come back refreshed.   But I'm totally with you on setting deadlines.  I have wasted so much time without them! 

Jamie

Writers Block is so very frustrating for the Composer.

 I usually listen to my favorite  music and some new music that i do not generally listen to then hopefully I get some inspiration. And, being snowed in last week in Georgia it was very frustrating to be in that "rut of the block".

On a different note... I have seen composers on different forums & they write hundreds of cues, etc.

Myself i strive for "quality" more than "quantity", although I know that you do need to send out many pieces of music be it :15, :20, 60:, :45 cues or longer tracks. I have also found that a number of pieces of music I write that i have put the least effort into have been the most successful in library work while a piece i feel is very good and I put quite a bit of effort into does nothing. Just the nature of this crazy & competitive biz.

What i like to do sometimes when i need inspiration is go outside or something, like go for a run. Another thing I like to do is think of a really emotional memory of some sort in order to bring out more emotions in myself.

You also could try taking your ideas and apply various compositional techniques like retrograde or transposition or changing the harmonies or rhythms.  They may not give you material, but they may just inspire you for more material.

Good cures !!!

Jim White said:

What i like to do sometimes when i need inspiration is go outside or something, like go for a run. Another thing I like to do is think of a really emotional memory of some sort in order to bring out more emotions in myself.

You also could try taking your ideas and apply various compositional techniques like retrograde or transposition or changing the harmonies or rhythms.  They may not give you material, but they may just inspire you for more material.

Improvise on your favorite instrument, record in MIDI form, then edit.

The positive side of this: If you practice this often, you will develop an individual style and never be in a rut.

The downside of this: You will have so many inspiring ideas and material that it will be difficult to chose which ones to combine and complete into a music form. For me the rate of material, which I consider completed, is much much less than 1% of all my MIDI records.

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