Songwriting is difficult even in the best of times.
However, after wrapping up a big project such as an album or mixtape release on Soundcloud, it could be downright difficult to search out the time and power to start new music.
While it could be tempting to take a break from songwriting after recording and releasing an album, you may wanna to think twice…
Waiting too long between your releases could be dangerous news for your craft, career and the comfort you get from creating.
Creative fulfillment for the right reasons is important for any musician who loves creating music, even if you’re feeling tired, uninspired and spent.
So how do you bounce back after a big creative push? And more importantly, how do you ensure creating is the solution, not the problem.
Here are 4 useful tips for re-thinking your process after wrapping up a big launch, and some methods to help you nurture your passion in a healthy way.
1. Change up your songwriting process
Predictability is the enemy of innovation. Once you’re burnt out it’s too simple to rely on your same old routine.
After all, innovating takes time and work—two issues that don’t come easy after a big project.
Ease back into your own process by exploring different ways to start new material:
- Spend some time with new instruments
- Collaborate with musicians whose sound will push you in new directions
- Experiment with new soundscapes and tempos you’re not used to working in
- Discover some new sample packs, VSTs, audio effects or music theory that’s unfamiliar to you
- Change your focus from music to sound—get to know your textures and tones on a deeper level
- Loop and jam freely to search out that spark that made you inspired in the first place
No matter what you select, discover methods of beginning that will make your process exciting and new again.
2. Get back to basics
Simplicity could be a large benefit for creativity in songwriting.
In fact, some of the most impactful musical ideas are the ones that embrace simplicity. However, it’s not simple. Simplicity takes practice.
However stripping your music down to its most basic musical parts is an effective method to rejuvenate your songwriting practice and refocus your creative energy on pure sound.
Even something as low-key as recording a few acoustic cover songs could help you reset after a long album launch, tour or mixdown.
So when you’re looking for a simple method to put out music while you regain your creative footing, covers are a solid option.
Inviting the simple pleasures back into your workflow will help you ease back into making and clear the path for your next large project.
3. Discover new music
Have you been making music for a long time? That’s good, however, I’ve got information for you: Nobody is ever “done” learning about, exploring and seeking out new music.
Ever feel like you’ve already heard everything there’s to listen to? You are doing it wrong.
If creative burnout is keeping you from making music, it’s probably time to drop what you’re doing and discover something new to listen to.
There’s a universe of sounds, methods, styles and musical viewpoints out there for each genre of music.
You don’t need to like everything you hear, however taking the time to discover unfamiliar music will help provide you with a new musical perspective to work with for your own songwriting.
Suggestion algorithms are good for reminding you about what you already love.
However, going off the algorithm grid for a while and exploring some genres and performers you could have not heard before is an effective way to hit the reset button on your inspirations.
Here are some activities that will help you connect the dots between different eras of music and sound, and stumble onto some musical inspiration you would not normally discover:
- Allmusic: Allmusic is a “comprehensive and in-depth resource for finding out more about the albums, bands, musicians, and songs you like.” Their Discover part provides you with access to songwriting credits, bandmember lineups, and biographical information for pretty much every music project ever. You could even see where an album was recorded, similar albums and even search music by mood.
- Discogs: You probably know Discogs as a marketplace for purchasing and selling music. However, it’s also a large database of recorded music that could lead you down some seriously inspirational rabbit holes. Exploring music by label, country or genre can turn into some juicy new discoveries real quick. Plus, users can create their own playlists and add releases to construct crowdsourced playlists you won’t really discover anywhere else. Log on and get lost for a while.
- Your local record store: I know, I know, that is the ultimate cliche these days. However, after several months of sitting and listening in front of a computer, or constantly refreshing your streaming stats to see how your launch is doing, some offline music time properly prices it. Your record store is just the place to dive deep into the corners of music without all of the digital noise.
4. Take care of yourself
This last point is important…
After spending lots of time and power creating music for your big launch, it’s common for more than an artist’s creativity to be impacted.
Take care of yourself!
Ensure the bills are paid, eat healthy, sleep at regular intervals and relax—you’ll have the best opportunity to get back into your songwriting practice refreshed and ready to create.
Music has put me into debt and hurt my personal relationships more than a few times throughout my career, however contrary to popular belief, all that suffering never seemed to make me a more creative songwriter.
I’ve learned I’m most able to concentrate on my music when my life is stable. Today I make every effort I could to care for myself first and my music second.
Every songwriter’s process and the background is unique, however when you’re feeling creatively unmotivated or lost it could be because other essential needs in your life aren’t being met. Addressing these needs can be what you need to get back on track.
In the circle of music
Creating isn’t always an ideal circle. It takes time, energy and motivation to continue moving around it.
Going from releasing back to make is the hardest step… However, it’s additionally the most rewarding.
It’s a time of reflection where you get to remind yourself all the personal causes you began on your journey in the first place.
Take the time to give yourself that friendly reminder. So if you hit record it’s for all the best reasons.