5 Tips to Break Through Writer’s Block

Written by: Sarah Sparks | Troy University Music Industry Major | Muscle Shoals Song Rooms Intern 2020

September 22, 2020

Imagine this: you finally get an opportunity to sit down to write, and you may even get a few lines down, but then it happens: you draw a complete blank. You stare at your notebook or your computer screen in the hopes of words coming to life, but it just doesn’t happen. 

Sound familiar?

Writer’s block is extremely common, frustrating, and can even make you second guess your ability as a songwriter. Here are a few tips to overcome writer’s block and get you back to being productive.

Use A Thesaurus.

This method gets overlooked a lot, but using a thesaurus can be very helpful. Look up the theme of your song and peruse through all its synonyms. For example, if your theme is “love”, thesaurus.com lists 140 different synonyms for love. That’s 140 opportunities for inspiration to come from one of those descriptions. Maybe you aren’t really trying to write about “love”; maybe “devotion” or “weakness” better describes your message. 

Redirect Your Attention.

Find the object closest to you and write about it. Don’t make it pretty or poetic; no one will read this but you. Describe its color, what you like/dislike about it, be as goofy as possible, write profanities at it – anything to distract you from what your mind was on before. There’s a good chance that something can spark inspiration and bring you back into writing efficiently. 

Change Your Scenery.

If you are indoors, try moving your workspace outside. If you have several lights on, try dimming a few. If you’re sitting in the dark, turn on a light. Write at the kitchen table instead of your desk. Any of these small scenery changes can put you in a different mindset and let the creative juices start flowing again. 

Take A Minute To Yourself.

Walk away from your writing project and give yourself a minute. Going for a walk or meditating can help you clear your head and relax. Completing a chore around the house or running an errand can help distract you and reset your thoughts. Come back when you consciously feel like you are in a better headspace and try again. 

Sleep On It.

If all else fails, get some rest. Practicing self care is extremely important, and an engine can’t run on an empty tank. I’m a firm believer that most problems can be solved after drinking some water and taking a nap. Don’t try to come back to writing too quickly; it may take a few days for your inspiration to come back, but just trust the process. 

Bonus Tip: Choose a co-writer! Having a co-writer can eliminate a lot of time wasted on writer’s block and can bring a new and fresh perspective to your song. It is true what they say: “Two heads are better than one.” 

I hope you find these tips useful and beneficial to your creative sessions. Happy writing!