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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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I usually need a deadline and then that sometimes doesnt work. I just try to not put so much value on what I'm doing and just write.I think of it the same way I practice my instument.
What I do is simply force myself to write, even if I'm not inspired and the music doesn't seem to come to me. I just write stuff, what ever, its not important if it's not perfect (or even good at all), what's important is to get into the flow. I do this with several ideas and, eventually, I start writing something that I actually find pleasing. Then it's time to write a piece.
That's an excellent idea for those who can actually read music. I'm currently working on a composition that grew out of a simple idea- an idea that I sang into my pocket recorder so I would not forget it. The recorder is a great way to capture ideas when you're away from your instrument.
I find that my best work occurs a few weeks in - I have to write my way into a 'zone' and then everything clicks.  This means about 2/3 of what I create will not seem satisfactory, but I know eventually I will get to the good parts.  So I write each week and even if it isn't really good, I know it is part of the process.  This requires a certain detachment from your work - you have to be honest about the way it sounds.  But for me, anyway, continuous writing seems to be the best way forward.
I wouldn't mind trying that myself(electrshock)

Fredrick zinos said:
Depending on your view of his music, hypnosis worked (or didn't work) for Rachmoninov. Personally, I favor electrocshock , gets those synaptic junctions out of their rut, which is what ultimately causes rut writing. 

So many very helpful suggestions.  I would add that, besides just persisting and giving yourself a break from evaluating, there is nothing like the charge of having someone perform and react to a piece.  I get slogged down most by indifference around me. 

But I'm no one to talk.  I have huge periods where I get blocked.  Most often its by too much concern over the reactions of others.

I listen to the composers I love and I almost always get an idea.  I like Tyler's advice about contrasting improvisation with no limits with composing to a set of rules.  The book "Composing Music: A New Approach" gives some great exercises with self-imposed limitations.

For me, it helps to start with a narrow restrictive concept, ie using four instruments, create a busy chaotic section for one measure, followed by a measure or two of silence, an alternating of positive and negative space. Something like this can be self-inspiring. Another tact is to go through some samples you haven't used much or a neglected synth patch. Unfamiliar sounds can be invigorating and take you to unfamiliar places.

Just like several others here, when I got blocked I go listen to music that will eventually inspire me (or hopefully lol). Sometimes I just sit on my keyboard and try to write anything. If it doesn't fit with the line I have written before, I will just discard it and write something else. This may last for hours, but most of the times I am eventually pleased with the results that come out. And to recharge the battery, I usually just do something different, like posting in forums like this, checking out my websites, updating my online status, among others.

I think this may just help me!

I have been stuck in a rut all this week!

Matt

Tyler Hughes said:

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

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