If you are creative artist, from time to time you probably have periods where are you struggling to find good ideas. It is the nature of making art – Sometimes we make great work, and sometimes, we do not. Whether you are a composer, writer, painter, or a sculpture artist you have probably experienced times like these during your creative process. In this week’s blog post, I want to share five strategies to share for getting rid of creative blocks.
1) Save your drafts to re-visit them later
If you couldn’t come up with good ideas today, try to go back and finish the old ones first. The premise is simple: Sometimes when you walk away from your old work, and later you re-visit them, you can see your work in a new light. For instance, I have had songs that I could not finish initially but I saved the drafts. Years later, when I came back, I was able to finish them.
2) Record practice sessions and re-listen them
Another technique of getting rid of creative block is to just start playing or writing without a clear purpose. The stream of consciousness approach will help you play through the ideas in your head and will help you focus. Especially recording your practice sessions and re-listening them will help you identify new ideas and develop them. If you keep doing this habitually, you will develop a library of ideas that you can use on your future work.
3) Change Your Instrument // Learn a New Tool
Sometimes the problem is knowing too much, where we end of focusing on the specifics and end up losing perspective of the big picture. For instance, as a guitar player of many years, sometimes I am too focused on voicings and the chord progressions, which might lead me to a point where the song does not “go anywhere”. Because of this, when I feel like the song is at a cul de sac, I like to switch to a different instrument, such as a piano. Each instrument is like a different language with a different way of thinking, and therefore changing your instrument can help you answer your creative problem. For this reason, I strongly suggest switching to a new instrument when you hit a creative roadblock.
4) Change your location
An idea usually does not simply present it to you, you have to search and develop it overtime. Chances are that your best work will not come to you as you sit in a room as you look at the walls or your computer screen. For me my best ideas come to me when I am out on the street walking, talking to a friend, running, eating, surfing or doing something else than producing artwork. This is because our brains tend to work more efficiently in the background when it comes to creativity. Scientists like Einstein also discovered this facet of the human brain, and in fact when he was stuck with a problem he could not solve, he would go on long walks in a park or playing his violin (Note tip#2!). In fact, he has later said that he solved many of his problems and developed his theories not when he was in his office or lab, but when he was playing his violin.
Sometimes the idea is in front of us, but we are distracted by those things such as social media, news, videos and other daily tasks. In order to have a productive writing session, try leaving your laptop at home and go old school with a notebook and pen. Write your music on paper – it helps to see the ideas solidify before you. Find a quiet place to work, don’t let noises drown out the voice inside you, who is your best and only guide! Usually the problem is not you, but the environment that prevents you from seeing what’s best for you and your work.
So there you have it, these are 5 strategies to get rid of the creative roadblocks that I regularly use. You might discover and develop new strategies yourself, feel free to comment and write what are some methods you use as well!
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Alper Tuzcu is a Berklee College of Music and Denison University alumni, and a Boston based guitarist, songwriter and producer. His new album ‘Aurora’ was released on October 19, 2018 and his debut eclectic album ‘Between 12 Waters’ featuring 8 different vocalists is available on Spotify. In addition to being a musician, he regularly teaches workshops and masterclasses internationally. You can follow him on Instagram or Twitter, and for more information you can visit his website www.alpertuzcu.com