The 'Creative Psychology' Series, by Producer Loops, covers topics which aim to help you make the most of your creative potential. Everyone, even the most talented producers, could do better! We can all improve our psychology to make more of ourselves, and our opportunities, and this series will provide tips and tricks on how to do just that. First up, we've written a useful guide on how to overcome writer's block. Enjoy...
All of a sudden it hits you, or actually, it doesn’t. You’ve lost your creative flow. You spend hours staring blankly at an empty screen with no new ideas coming to mind. No matter how many times you’ve tried, nothing seems to kick-start your creativity. Luckily, your brain hasn’t completely let you down, because you're here and reading this article on the Producer Loops News Desk
. We’re going to present some tips and techniques which can help you to overcome and prevent writer’s block. Or should we say, production block?
First and foremost: Explore our Sample Packs!
It’s a bit obvious, huh? But we had to, because after checking out our huge range of Loops and Samples
, we’re pretty sure there’s at least one (or more) that will ignite your creativity and help you get back into the flow. On ProducerLoops.com, we’ve got everything, from Deep-House
Copy, not paste:
Got a favourite track you wish you had made? Try to remake it. Not sure which track to pick? Perhaps choose a track which is in a different genre to what you would normally produce? By trying to recreate a track which is in a different style, you’ll learn additional production techniques, making you a more accomplished and rounded producer. You'll also be more open to cross-overs from that point forward. Or maybe not, but at least you gave it a go. You can also bootleg or remix the hell out of that one recreated track. Don’t be afraid to give it your own, unique twist. You never know where it’ll lead you. You may even be able to submit it as a remix!
Be inspired by others:
There’s a reason you’re in the studio wanting to make music. Something or someone inspired you. Try and think back to the tracks, albums or artists which inspired you to get into music. Shut off that DAW and listen to your all-time favourite tracks, or let yourself be inspired by exploring new music. Maybe it was a soundtrack or the music of a particular movie that got you hooked? Watch it again, and think about why it inspired you so much. We all need to get back to our creative roots once in a while.
Try listening to different musical styles:
Search outside of your comfort zone. Always branch out and listen to new styles of music, and don't forget, music progresses through inspiration from existing music and existing styles. New styles are usually a blend of two or more existing styles, etc. Be open to the whole world of music, especially if you're currently feeling uninspired. It may be some obscure hook in a style of music you'd never normally produce which re-ignites your desire to get back into the studio and make that killer track. If your music requires you to come up with melodic riffs, or beautiful chord progressions, then listen to classical music. It's a great source of inspiration for melodies and pads.
We know the deal. You’ve got a folder on your hard drive bursting with old ideas, sketches and half-finished tracks. ‘IDEA V2.3new’ or ‘SONG 4 – checklater’
may just have exactly the right kick you need, it might even contain the perfect melody to match with your current project. Check out your unreleased back catalogue
every once in a while. You may already have the elements you need for your next monster hit.
Hello, outside world:
Do you sometimes feel like an alien species, unaware of what’s happening outside of your studio? Does sunlight blind you? Well, be open to the outside world. It's healthy to give your eyes and ears a rest every few hours. Perhaps head out, get some fresh air, take a walk, go for a run, unwind. You’ll hear so many things; scents and sounds, which could inspire. Traffic noise and other regular everyday sounds can sometimes turn into the perfect sample for that new tune of yours too.
You could even record some real-life audio on your mobile phone? David Gilmour, guitarist and lead vocalist of Pink Floyd, used many real-life samples recorded on his mobile phone in his latest solo album, "Rattle That Lock", released in 2015. If one of the world's best-selling and best-loved musicians is doing it, what's stopping you?
Live near the sea? Go and record the sound of the ocean or seagulls! Live in the countryside? Record the dawn chorus. Live in the city? Record the road noise and chattering of people in the streets or in bars, etc. With some reverb added to these kinds of ambient sounds, you've got yourself some 100% unique elements which you can embed into your next track.
Apart from finding inspiration, it’s healthy to head out every once in a while. Be sociable, walk the dog, make a sandwich, head off to a festival, go on a date, go to the movies, whatever distracts you from your studio and clears your head.
Swap, remix or collab:
Got an extensive network of producer friends who spend the majority of their time in the studio, like you? Some may have serious intentions, others may be in it for the fun. If you have a network like this, perhaps ask if anyone would be up for remixing
one of your songs, or if they’re up for a collaboration? Meet up in the studio or simply swap files, and you’ll not only learn how to collaborate, but you'll also witness the way that someone else
works. And you bet, that’s inspiring! You see, every producer has evolved their own neat tips and tricks. Learning these tricks is great, but be prepared to share your own tricks too, because if you evolve
with another producer, you may have just found the other half of your "duo".
We all work differently; some people prefer to work alone; whilst others work best in collaborations, but if you've never collaborated before then how do you know how you work best? Find out, because if you work best in collaborative projects then you're going to achieve more when working with others. Find someone to collaborate with ASAP, especially if you're feeling like you're stuck in the mud.
DAW Templates and OMF files:
We offer an extensive range of DAW templates
products in many different genres/styles. The great thing about templates/OMF
files is that when you load them into your DAW
you get to see exactly
how the different elements have been put together to make the track. It's like lifting the bonnet/hood of a car, but you're getting to open the bonnet/hood of a monster track instead. It can be awe-inspiring and enlightening to see how the music's really put together. It's quite surprising too, because when you listen to the individual loops within the music, often you can't hear them when listening to the full track, as they're lost "in the mix", but they're just as important as the up-front parts! We especially recommend checking out these product types if you don't have close producer friends, but want to get some inspiration and ideas.
Time is money. Time is running out. Feeling the pressure yet? You should be... Because sometimes having a deadline is the best thing for motivation. You may be surprised at how a deadline can help get you focused. So, even if there is no pressure, set yourself a firm goal. Try to finish a new track each week, or write as many production ideas as you can in a day. Don't worry about making things perfect immediately, as you can set yourself a secondary goal to develop the ideas later, with a final session to tidy things up and add the finishing touches.
Few artists are ever truly happy
with their work, but all professionals accept that every project has to come to an end, eventually. There's even a saying in songwriting circles, "A record is never done - you just run out of time, money, or patience". Being self-critical and overly-perfectionist, to the point where you can't complete anything at all, is negative and limiting. It's easy to get so lost in a project that you can't tell when the time is right to hit that "Export" button but if you find yourself constantly making minute adjustments, it's time to step away from that particular project. Revisit the track with fresh ears a few days or even weeks later. Or pick the two best versions of your track and ask a producer friend to say which they prefer. Once you've called time on the track and released it, or moved on to other projects, there's nothing to stop you returning to the production at a later date to see if you can apply any new skills or sounds to it.
Strum and play:
Do you know how to play an instrument? If so, switch off that computer and play your piano, guitar, banjo, violin, ukulele, drums or whatever it is that you play. Making music the ‘organic’ way can help unblock your creativity. Haven’t mastered a real instrument yet? Invest some time and money and taking lessons, or watch YouTube tutorials. It’ll definitely enrich your work in the studio. That also goes for the cheapest instrument every human being has: your voice
. Take some singing lessons or perfect your beat-box skills, buy a microphone and record!
Restock your studio with new loops & samples:
Out with the old, and in with the new. Restock your sample library by (there we are again!) checking ProducerLoops.com. We’ve got vocal loops, drum loops, synth
loops, atmospheric loops, FX, loops, construction kits, riffs, basslines
, leads and much more – in all styles and genres!
We hope this will help you beat writer's block, but we’re also curious to find out other strategies! Have you got a different strategy to get back into that creative flow? What keeps you inspired? Share it with us on the Producer Loops Facebook Page or send us your tips on Twitter! We hope these ideas will help in some way. We all face creative challenges, at times. The main goal is to not lose our overall perspective. Always write down your goals and then write lists with notes on how you can achieve them, and remember, every journey starts with a single step!