6 More strategies to get creatively unstuck ✨
This post loose accompanies Gab & Jam, episode 238. 3 More strategies to get creatively unstuck
As you know, we are always looking to add to our list of actionable strategies to keep the creativity flowing. That’s where this episode comes in. This episode was inspired by Creative Pep Talk: Check out 370 - 5 Pieces of Incredible Creative Advice that Lit Me On Fire with Zak Rosen of the Best Advice Show https://creative-pep-talk.simplecast.com/episodes/370
Check out the episode to hear the full discussion:
238. 3 More strategies to get creatively unstuck
The six strategies to get creatively unstuck are:
1. Jot down the qualities of some piece of art/music that delights you
It’s like making a gratitude list, but for something you appreciate (like a genre of song or the way it’s performed). Pick one piece, talk about you like about it, and then, just describe it. By taking the time to notice something that is NOT yours, you can begin to have ideas of how you might implement this in your work. Just going down this rabbit hole of examining the things that make you love life will lift you up and make you WANT to create something new.
10 ways to nurture the fans you ALREADY have: https://bit.ly/237nurturefansblog
2. Trying playing/singing in a different key
In an effort to shake yourself out of a pattern, try an exercise that FORCES you to do something differently. By simply engaging in a new—or limited—manner, you may find something that sparks a new perspective toward a song. For instance, if I record two different chord variations and pan them to different speakers for the guitar part, when I am writing the bass part that goes on top, I will hear a different part than I would usually hear, simply because what is the foundation is askew of what I am used to. Sometimes, that’s JUST the spark you need to create something inspired and thrilling.
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3. Set “meh” as your standard
As we’ve said before, sometimes we get stuck, because our expectations are through the roof. We feel as if we have to create the greatest song of all time every time we sit down to write. So, one technique espoused by this podcast episode was to set your expectations EXTREMELY low. Since we’re artists, trying to keep a day job and raise a family, we have to create in the spaces in-between. This means that it can be intimidating to whip out your “masterpiece” when you ONLY have 45 minutes each morning before the kids wake up. That’s why in the podcast episode, they called them “tiny goals.” They lower the standards to almost nothing. For instance, maybe I don’t have any ideas for a song, but can I just sit in my recording studio for 45 minutes? Then, can I just tap out a drum beat. If THAT bar is too high, go back to JUST writing out a few lyrics. Remember, they DON’T have to be great. In fact, in the podcast, they shared filmmaker Jordan Peele’s philosophy of a rough draft that says it’s like he’s just putting “sand in the sandbox.” He follows that up by saying that he can “build castles later.” The goal is just to get started and by getting started, you can build the momentum to go back and make it better with each pass. But it’s setting the bar VERY low that opens the door for you.
Tips to help you write quicker AND better: https://bit.ly/228writebetterblogpost
4. Switch up gear/patches/drums
Sometimes, getting a new piece of gear can spark some new ideas, but that comes with the downside of additional costs. However, perhaps finding a free download of a sound, going through all the sounds in your keyboard (to discover new ones), or using the pre-programmed drum patterns in your equipment might spark you to write something differently in response. So, even when you AREN’T feeling terribly creative, just going through the pattern bank on your gear MIGHT lead you down a path of eking out a new sound for your next song. Or another possibility for acquiring new elements to work with is to sample things and bring those into your song. –We hear this incredible chorus of birds outside our home every morning, so we’re considering taking a sample of them to use as the foundation for a new song. It’s a way to do something unusual, but that keeps you in that creative mode.
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5. Do more in downtime to cultivate materials and ideas.
Like we mentioned in number 4, sitting down to write COULD be overwhelming some days, so instead of skipping spending the time in the studio—and scrolling mindlessly on social media or going down the Netflix rabbit trail—just going to your creative space and assembling a line-up of patches and sampling some cool sounds might give you a great foundation for your next mind-blowing creation. By setting the bar at “I’m going to get SOMETHING creative done in this time span” will allow you to come back to the writing with more fresh ideas to use.
The one caveat is that you might end up with a lot of unfinished songs, but even THAT’S better than NOT creating at all, in our opinion. As an artist, you want to continually hone your creativity and what better way to do that than to practice writing songs. Even if they don’t seem great, the fact that you are keeping that doorway to your muse open, you KNOW that you will be rewarded by working through ideas that may ONE day find a place in a song that IS great. That’s the beauty of having a habit of doing it.
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6. Take a “structured walk”
This is where you find SOMEONE who loves you/cares about you/or is in a similar, but different creative space and agrees to talk an hour-long—or however long you choose—walk. For half of the walk, you discuss your issue (and allow them to give feedback) and halfway through, swap and let them tell you about their issue (and you give feedback). Even IF they don’t know your industry, having someone listen and share any kind of a solution is OFTEN enough to get you unstuck.
As a way to implement something SIMILAR to this idea, perhaps engage with folks in Facebook groups that are discussing ideas that are related to your field—or your problem or your tools. Often, you both may learn something in your exchanges there that might set you on a better path. Also, looking for people who discuss issues that you have a gut response to is probably the easiest, since it won’t be difficult to share your ideas on that topic. THIS has been one BIG way we have found like-minded individuals, doing important things to befriend. And, often, we didn’t KNOW that we were going to end up being “friends,” but sharing our journey and allowing others to give us feedback has fostered this bond. Either way, feel blessed once you find those folks and cherish their input. THESE are the people who can help you get unstuck.
Another way to engage in a VERSION of this would be to listen to podcasts, watching YouTube videos, or reading books of folks who are sharing some ideas that are trying to work through. Let them be your mentor in that moment. Find what they are sharing that you can use and be grateful that you are hearing JUST the right information at JUST the right time in your journey.
How to collaborate better (if you’re an introvert): https://bit.ly/Ep163collaborateblog
The bottom line....
Finding ways to stay in the creative flow is a lifelong journey for us D.I.Y. Rock Stars, which is why finding actionable strategies—like these—are so important to us. Even if we don’t need them today, there will be those times when we do, and by taking note of them when we encounter them, we will be ready to battle the “blank page,” so to speak, so that we can get the most out of the time we have. And we hope that posts like this help YOU, fellow D.I.Y. Rock Star, as well!
What do YOU think?
We’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic!
Talk to us in the comments below.
Here’s what we’re into now:
· Tom Ray’s Art Podcast: https://bit.ly/tomraypodcast
· “Sugar Fit” on Darkest Corners of the World Podcast S2 E3 http://bit.ly/sugarfitdarkestpod
· “Flying High” (from “Sugar Fit” album) on Toes in the Sand Playlist http://bit.ly/toesplaylist
· “Sugar Fit” on his Spotify “Indie: Undiscovered But Brilliant: Vol. 3” http://bit.ly/SugarFitonPlaylist2
· “Sugar Fit” on No Sugar Radio http://bit.ly/nosugarradiosugarfit
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· “Tips for Competing with Yourself (for the D.I.Y. Rock Star)” http://bit.ly/Ep94BV2019blog20
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