Four Experimental Ways To Get Creative During The Songwriting Process
Songwriting is different for every musician. Artists have their own tried and true methods like collaborating with a trusted songwriting partner or beginning a song with lyrics when they have a message in mind. Songwriting is an elusive practice so it can be beneficial to get the creative process going in a different way than usual. If you are an artist struggling to find the method that works for you or if you have gotten stuck in your process, here are a few experimental tips to get you started or unstuck.
Start With A Riff
If you’re used to creating a song with a thought-out plan then remember that a riff can be a fantastic aspect of a song. Fun riffs can be memorable to an audience and make a song unforgettable. Riffs don’t always come to mind when you have everything solidly structured. Sometimes you’ll have to dabble with a few notes on your guitar or another instrument to find what works. Starting with a riff first can help you keep the songwriting process loose and natural. As you play, you’ll see what feels and sounds right.
Experiment With Time
If you get easily stuck or discouraged when songwriting due to overthinking, create a time limit. Creating a sort of test for yourself can help you raise your creative energy for a moment. Almost like free writing, doing such an experiment of seeing what you can create in 5 or 10 minutes can help you let go of expectations. You might end up with a surprising hook or the outline of a full song.
Alternatively, if you like to write songs in one session, consider letting your lyrics come to you in waves. Rob Stewart once stated, “I’ll come up with one line in a day, and then it might be a couple of days before I come up with the rhyming line.” To truly experiment with the songwriting process, push yourself to lay down a verse or cord differently. Letting your ideas slow down, if you’re one to rush, can let your ideas evolve on their own.
Get Quiet & Listen
If you are an artist having difficulty getting into the creative sphere, it’s important to find a way to focus. Getting away from distractions like your iPhone, Netflix or even your DAW or signature instrument can put you back on track. Limiting such stimulation, also if it’s music related, will allow your mind to relax and wander. Some artists and creative people mention staring out a window or not speaking for a few hours and merely listening to the world around them can boost their creativity. Additionally, practices like meditation and going for a walk can help your mind quiet from overthinking or lagging. While you’re doing whichever experimental method, you never know what might be the spark of an idea.
Record & Revist
Along with taking a moment to draw yourself away from distractions, as an artist, you should have something to jot down notes or record with when ideas spring up. Many artists use their phone to record, but you can also find a voice recorder or keep a notepad with you. Recording your thoughts and ideas is nothing new yet when experimenting try to set aside time to register and then let your ideas sit. Purely giving yourself space to write out your thoughts or record what comes to mind without expectations for a few hours or a day can be an exciting process.