Creative block – the universal enemy of all artistic people. While all artists have experienced the frustrating numbness that it brings, having moments of stagnation is perfectly normal, albeit annoying. But don’t worry, there are a few ways you can beat creative block as a musician. Since creative inspiration comes from all aspects of life, you have to live to get more of it. And here are a few ways to get back into it and make sure your next project is even better than the last:
Overcome creative block by listening to new music
A good way to overcome creative block in music production is to venture into the unknown. Listening to new music can help spark your creativity and give you new ideas. The great thing about the internet is that you can discover all sorts of music you’ve never thought would exist and even better – there are people online who curate and make all sorts of playlists that you can listen to on YouTube or Spotify.
Listening to new music can help you get out of a creative block by stirring your creative juices. For example, imagine hearing some exotic world music track that has some interesting percussion parts, with timbre and rhythm you’ve never heard before. How cool would it be to sample that and use it in your next track to add some uniqueness?
If you want to know how to become an EDM producer in 2023, or already are one and need a bit of inspiration, then check out our guide for How to produce EDM: Step-by-step guide for 2023.
Beat creative block by taking a break from a project
Taking a break is a common and effective way to beat creative block as a music producer. We are not robots. It's important to recognize that creativity is not a continuous process, and taking time away from the project can often provide you the necessary space to recharge and come back with fresh ideas.
During the break, focus on other activities that can help to clear your mind and provide new inspiration. This can include, as we've said, listening to different genres of music, exploring new sounds and instruments, or even engaging in physical exercise or creative meditation. The key to beating creative block is to shift your focus away from the project and find activities that can spark new ideas and creative energy.
It's also important to set a timeframe for the break, whether it's a few hours, a day, or even a week. This can help to provide structure and ensure that it doesn't turn into an extended period of procrastination. Once it’s over, you will have returned to the project with a fresh perspective and renewed energy, ready to tackle the creative challenges that lay ahead!
Get out of a creative block by changing your surroundings
Sometimes a change of scenery can help break the monotony and inspire you. To get out of a creative block, try working in a different room, or even a different location like a park or coffee shop. While this may not be suitable for the fine-tuned mixing and mastering stage of the process, sketching and laying down ideas can be done from anywhere, as long as you bring your laptop and a pair of good headphones. Having a portable setup for music production is always a good idea!
Another way of stirring some new inspiration that can help you get out of a creative block can be to go somewhere with a group of other producers or musicians as a type of co-working space. This can lead to interesting feedback and maybe even a new track that you’ve collaborated on! The idea behind all of this is that doing the same activity in a new environment can help change your routine way of thinking.
Get through a creative block by collaborating with other musicians
Collaborating with other musicians and producers can help you get through creative blocks by allowing you to experience fresh perspectives and approaches to music making. They can help you experiment with new sounds or techniques and can help you break out of your comfort zone and discover new creative avenues.
You may have noticed that all of these ways to get through a creative block can and do overlap. The same way you can get new impressions by listening to different types of music you can also get from other musicians, as the individual aspect everyone brings to their craft is what sets every artist apart.
Overcome creative block by setting purposeful limitations
Setting limitations can help you work around and overcome creative blocks by giving a specific direction and focus to the music production process. When there are too many options available, it can be overwhelming and lead you to decision paralysis. By setting limitations, such as using a specific set of instruments or a certain drum machine, you can focus your creativity within those boundaries and avoid feeling overwhelmed.
These limitations can also help to spark new ideas and approaches to your musical project, allowing you to overcome your creative block by finding ways of working around them. For example, limiting the use of certain chords or scales can force you to experiment with new sounds and techniques, leading to unexpected and unique results.
Additionally, narrowing your parameters can also help to streamline the music production process by reducing the number of options and decisions that you need to make. This can help you to work more efficiently and with greater intention, leading to a more focused and productive creative process.
Beat creative block by embracing mistakes
Sometimes mistakes are not mistakes at all. There's a certain amount of chaos with making art where everything is up in the air. During this stage of the creative process, the way to beat creative block is to be okay with where things fall. Meaning, a mistake is only a mistake if you want things to be a certain way, otherwise it can be either a different way of doing things, or a way to learn.
Embracing mistakes can be a great asset, and is an important aspect of beating creative blocks as a music producer. Oftentimes, the fear of making mistakes can prevent you from experimenting with new ideas or taking risks in your music. However, mistakes can often lead to unexpected and interesting results that can inspire new creative directions.
To embrace mistakes, it can be helpful to approach the creative process with a mindset of exploration and experimentation rather than striving for perfection. Using a limited set of tools or deliberately choosing unconventional sounds or chord progressions. This can help you break out of your usual creative habits and challenge yourself to think outside the box.
Rather than getting frustrated or discouraged by mistakes, try to approach them with curiosity and openness, seeing them as opportunities for learning and growth. Finally, it can be helpful to remind yourself that mistakes are not always bad and can even lead to breakthroughs or happy accidents.
How the producers on Edmwarriors overcome creative block:
To help more with ideas on how to effectively tackle creative blocks we have asked some of our top producers at Edmwarriors if they’ve ever experienced such uncreative periods and what they do when they happen:
“Of course, it happens quite often. I overcome it by listening to music, or just taking a small break in general. Just get your mind off your music and do something fun. Maybe try out a new genre. What works for me, doesn't necessarily work for anyone else.”
“Of course, many people experience a creative crisis, I take a break from work and go to nature with friends and family, rest helps to restore strength and put my thoughts in order”
“All the time, it's part of the process. Once I used to just stop making music and did something else, like going outside and such, but that is now wrong for me: I just work through it. If I have no ideas for a track, even just starting a new project and laying down a groove causes a chain reaction of ideas and the block goes away. If I stop making music at the moment I feel as if the block wins the battle.”
“Yes, all the time, especially during the pandemic. My inspiration comes from the dance floor. I always feel inspired after visiting big artists' shows which I haven't been able to do for more than a year now. Not forcing yourself to make music also works, just take breaks, as much as you need, try to do other stuff, and listen to music you like from other artists, this is my way to face not feeling creative.”
“Creative blocks occur one time per month. The main reason for such a situation is that I forget what the “rest” is. When I create music during this period it seems like I can’t do something new and unique again. I think it’s observed mostly because I don’t understand where my ideas and inspiration come from. So every time I’m nervous about starting a new project. Concerning block overcoming, doing custom tracks helps very well, because then I listen to music not as a creator, but as a customer. Besides, I have identified for myself several ways to easily overcome creative blocks - they are meditation, holotropic breathing, chill time with loved ones, fishing and a good sleep.”
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Is getting into creative blocks as a music producer normal?
A: Having periods of creative blocks is perfectly normal not only for music producers, but for all artists. Fortunately, there are effective ways to get past them!
Q: Is collaborating with other producers a good way to beat creative blocks?
A: Yes, because it can bring you fresh ideas and perspectives, which you can then incorporate in your next musical projects.
Q: How can I get through creative blocks when I'm afraid of making mistakes?
A: Instead of getting frustrated or discouraged by mistakes, try to approach them with curiosity and openness, as they can be opportunities for learning and growth, instead of causes for paralysis.