Writer's Block & Breakdowns. This is Normal

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innerstatejt
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Writer's Block & Breakdowns. This is Normal

Post by innerstatejt » Thu May 12, 2016 4:06 pm

Writer's Block & Breakdowns. This is Normal

Songwriting and music production is going to be hard, especially for anyone who is just starting their music journey. Anyone who says differently is not doing you any favors. This is not to say that you can't simplify the process & develop habits that can assist you when the going gets rough but nobody creates in a place that is void of self-doubt or feeling stuck.

Breakdowns are a normal part of the process

When you understand that getting stuck or feeling lost is a normal part of the process, it can no longer hurt you. You will come to the understanding that by simply keeping yourself moving forward, you will move past the discomfort & begin to gain your confidence again.

In fact, breakthroughs and peak states of creativity very often follow a creatively low period. With repetition of pushing yourself through the process, breakdowns will usually become shorter & shorter. For me, that "stuck" feeling or the "this sucks" period usually lasts for 2-3 days before I get my 2nd wind & start feeling good about things again.

It's normal. I can't repeat this enough to make you believe me, but with experience, it will certainly become clear to you.
You are just experiencing fear that you have either lost your magic or that you never really had it. The secret you have to understand is that there is no magic. There is only process & a consistent work ethic.


Comparing yourself to others

Comparing your work to the work of others is a double edged sword & it's one I would encourage you to practice but please be humble & realistic. To obsess about the gap between your experience and theirs is a big no-no. You should instead be focused on how with each new composition, you are closing that gap.

You are going to need to balance the process of "listen, create, do the best you can, Repeat". Most people get stuck on the "do the best you can". We as artists & as people expect so much of ourselves, that we have a hard time accepting when we have given the best we can in this moment. Allowing ourselves to call a piece of work done & moving to the next piece is the secret to success that nobody wants to acknowledge.

Doing the best you can and calling something "done" when you have reached your current skill limitations, is about the most important habit that you can develop. If you are using Mozart as a reference and working on your very first song, can you see the poison in not calling your work done when you've gone as far as your current skills allow?

When listening to your reference artist, you need to consider all the years of failed or lesser quality songs that lead to the artist's ability to create that particular song.

Take a look at any technology we now enjoy in our lives and you will find that each was a process of failing forward. A process of getting better with each attempt. Wasn't it Edison that failed 10,000 times to create a light bulb that worked? He just happened to view his failures as discovering a new way that didn't work, taking note & taking a different approach.


The process of getting better is one of the sweetest experiences you can have. The doubt, the struggle & the small victories. Take the time to savor this, as you will never have the chance to go back and do it all again for the first time. You'll never be able to re-experience the person you become through this process.


It does get easier

at some point is DOES get easier. but you have to accept that nobody is going to drop you at the top of the mountain, you've got to climb it step by step. There is no training or tutorial that will replace experience, only some shortcuts & lessons from those who have reached where you would like to be. You can be shown the easiest path up the mountain, but you still have to do the climbing.

Improvement is addicting when you reach a bit outside the amateur level. It takes a good amount of grunt work to get to that place where things level off a bit, so be easy on yourself & understand that there is no human who doesn't hit a creative wall from time to time. You are not abnormal or unworthy of reaching the top of your game, just because you have some rough spots.

If you are ever feeling down, bookmark this page and read through it often.

If you are still feeling down, email me: innerstatejt@gmail.com

I believe in you & your journey. Keep moving forward :-)
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mholloway
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Re: Writer's Block & Breakdowns. This is Normal

Post by mholloway » Thu May 12, 2016 5:52 pm

All very, very true stuff. +1 / thumbs up.
my industrial music made with Ableton Live (as DEAD WHEN I FOUND HER): https://deadwhenifoundher.bandcamp.com/
my dark jazz / noir music made with Ableton Live: https://michaelarthurholloway.bandcamp. ... guilt-noir

innerstatejt
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Re: Writer's Block & Breakdowns. This is Normal

Post by innerstatejt » Fri May 13, 2016 8:11 pm

Great! I hope it helped. :D
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H20nly
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Re: Writer's Block & Breakdowns. This is Normal

Post by H20nly » Fri May 13, 2016 8:54 pm

bump and *bookmark*

störgeräusche
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Re: Writer's Block & Breakdowns. This is Normal

Post by störgeräusche » Sat May 14, 2016 8:42 am

nice first read this morning, thanks a lot. heading just now to the studio to reharse for my live gig tomorrow -perfect timing!

all the best!
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jestermgee
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Re: Writer's Block & Breakdowns. This is Normal

Post by jestermgee » Wed May 18, 2016 12:00 am

The lucky ones are the ones who realise this with ANY type of art and don't let it affect them too much. It's impossible to create endlessly without some kind of input to spur it along. If you didn't take time out to experience life there would be little life in your art.

Personally I updated last year to Push MKII, Komplete Kontrol S61, Purchased a dozen new VSTs only to then take the last 5 months off producing completely and instead move back into live DJ work because I wasn't feeling inspired enough... Felt a little depressed shelling out for new toys and having no keen interest to use them but after doing a 9 hour outdoor DJ gig on the weekend and having a few days off my actual day job i'm all inspired again, jumped into a new remix comp for a challenge and completed the project in half a day not wanting to even leave my studio.

Now i'm feeling energized again and will knock a few of the half-completed tracks off my list while i'm still feeling it.

innerstatejt
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Re: Writer's Block & Breakdowns. This is Normal

Post by innerstatejt » Wed May 18, 2016 12:05 am

Nice Jester! Glad you got your mojo back!
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alexjholland
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Re: Writer's Block & Breakdowns. This is Normal

Post by alexjholland » Thu May 19, 2016 9:34 am

I always found I'd do awesome sketches on lined paper, but struggle when given the pressure of a perfect sheet of white paper.

In the same way, I've rarely committed tracks to Soundcloud.. But recording clips on Instagram feels like a lot less pressure, so I've just started doing that - and am enjoying it so far.

Idonotlikebroccoli
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Re: Writer's Block & Breakdowns. This is Normal

Post by Idonotlikebroccoli » Thu May 19, 2016 11:28 am

I think writer's block doesn't exist. People just don't see the whole picture.

I'm quite sure everyone here has made way more crappy 4 bar loops than proper tracks. There are no shortcuts, and you pick up so many small things that add up from doing those silly 4 bar loops. Making nonsense can be very fun, it can be social, and it can be a good learning experience. Stupid joke mashups taught me the importance of compressors, a MIDI accordion tune of mine turned into a 17 track remix EP, and I've sampled tons of silly projects of mine in more serious tracks with excellent results.

Even when you're not making music, you're still doing important practice. Humming, imagining, thigh drumming, dancing, visualising, listening, experiencing, connecting ideas - these are things I do constantly, and they're all part of making music for me. Public speakers use language for great speeches, but most of their days are spent saying simple and mundane things. I think we should treat music the same way.

With this in mind, I don't have any guilt or remorse when I open up Live and end up with unusable nonsense.
Please vote! Live 10's "multi" clip editing should allow selection+editing of multiple clips in one action:

(L10-SUG-0228) Multiple MIDI transpose

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=228094

amigo
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Re: Writer's Block & Breakdowns. This is Normal

Post by amigo » Thu May 19, 2016 12:57 pm

Every track you write is a journey and you should be learning something from each one. Along the way you will have highlights and write some of your best music at that time. You can look back at each track to chart your progress and while listening to those highlights you can see just how far you have come.

Always write your music for you, and enjoy the process of doing it. If anybody else likes it well that is a bonus.

Identify your weaknesses and work on them. Turn them into your strengths.

Don't be hung up on comparing yours to theirs. Find your own sound and fine tune it.

Don't be afraid to share your music with the world. Even if only a few people are listening.

Re-visit old tracks and do a 2016, or whatever, edit to give yourself an idea of just how far you have come since the original version.

Be happy in everything that you do.

alexjholland
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Re: Writer's Block & Breakdowns. This is Normal

Post by alexjholland » Thu May 19, 2016 1:05 pm

Idonotlikebroccoli wrote:I think writer's block doesn't exist. People just don't see the whole picture.

I'm quite sure everyone here has made way more crappy 4 bar loops than proper tracks. There are no shortcuts, and you pick up so many small things that add up from doing those silly 4 bar loops. Making nonsense can be very fun, it can be social, and it can be a good learning experience. Stupid joke mashups taught me the importance of compressors, a MIDI accordion tune of mine turned into a 17 track remix EP, and I've sampled tons of silly projects of mine in more serious tracks with excellent results.

Even when you're not making music, you're still doing important practice. Humming, imagining, thigh drumming, dancing, visualising, listening, experiencing, connecting ideas - these are things I do constantly, and they're all part of making music for me. Public speakers use language for great speeches, but most of their days are spent saying simple and mundane things. I think we should treat music the same way.

With this in mind, I don't have any guilt or remorse when I open up Live and end up with unusable nonsense.
Excellent post. This is true of almost everything. You may date many girls, but can only marry one (OK, maybe four if you're certain religions!).

Accepting that finished songs are like the small Pacific island, protruding from the tip of the highest peaks of undersea mountain ranges is important.

Most music won't ever be released. And that's totally cool. And appreciating that fact, makes it much more enjoyable!

I'm 30 and only now feel generally free from worrying too much about finishing tracks or whether they're good enough while playing.. and most of the time being much more involved in the process and pleasure of playing and creating.

innerstatejt
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Re: Writer's Block & Breakdowns. This is Normal

Post by innerstatejt » Fri May 20, 2016 1:57 am

Really great comments so far. Awesome guys!

mekanism1200
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Re: Writer's Block & Breakdowns. This is Normal

Post by mekanism1200 » Fri May 20, 2016 8:19 pm

Thanks for writing this, I go through this stuff all too often. I just recently deleted all of my old projects and wiped out my SC. I realized how awful my stuff sounded, and just wasn't happy with the direction I was going. Hopefully starting fresh will bring back my confidence and I will start having fun again. If we aren't enjoying it what's the point!

dhpetrescu
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Re: Writer's Block & Breakdowns. This is Normal

Post by dhpetrescu » Fri May 20, 2016 8:21 pm

Agreed, the way I see it, only about 1% of everything I'll do will be good. When you realize that it really gets you motivated to do a lot of work in anticipation of getting to that 1 in 100 song. I like the analogy of the top of the mountain . I think of it like a mountain climbing. You have to take thousands of small arduous steps through dense forests to get to the top. It's difficult, but it's worth it. The view at the top will be amazing

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