For songwriters, dealing with writer's block can be a huge challenge. But writer's block is simply a mental obstacle that we all have to overcome at times. Some may get frustrated because they feel they don't have enough tools to deal with it when it occurs. Here are "7 P's" to help you to push through the process in songwriting:
1. Prayer- This is one of the advantages that the Christian songwriter has in the process of writing songs for the glory of God- the help of God Himself! God is jealous for His own glory, and praying to God to help you in the process of producing music that glorifies Him is a win-win situation! Believe that God will answer you and assist you. Make your request known to Him in prayer, then seek His Word for fresh content and ideas.
2. Purpose- So many get stuck in the songwriting process because they are not clear on their purpose for writing. Ask yourself, what am I trying to accomplish? What is the purpose of this song? Who do I want it to impact? Being clear on your purpose for writing can help when you are lost for words. In fact, write down your stated purpose so that you can go back to it throughout the process of writing your song. It is a good idea to use that stated purpose to brain storm ideas and concepts connected to that purpose, which in turn will provide you with content for lyrics.
3. Prompts- When you are stuck in a rut, sometimes you just need a push. Prompts can help to push you to write songs when you can't think of topics to write about on your own. You can use almost anything as a prompt for song ideas. Here are some suggested prompts:
- Choose the a topic from the news or social media
- Pick a random word or emotion
- Use the title of a book
- Select a favorite Bible verse
- Listen to other songs that are similar to the kind of song you desire to write.
4. Pieces- Sometimes it's helpful to take the big picture of a song and break it up into smaller pieces. This is where determining the structure of your song is important. If you know what kind of structure you want your song to have, then you can focus on a portion of the song that is less challenging first. For instance, if you struggle with writing verses, then start with writing the chorus, or vice versa. Understand that you may have to put the song down for a while and come back to it later. Don't be in a rush to finish a song that has the potential to be a masterpiece. The whole song doesn't have to be written in one sitting.
5. Perspective- Pausing to change your perspective as a writer can help you to be more creative and think outside the box. For instance, if you are writing your lyrics from the perspective of talking to God, pause and take time to think about the song from the reverse perspective (that is, from God's perspective). Then you might do well to ask questions like: How would God think about this? What would God say or do in response to these lyrics?
6. Play- Some writing sessions demand seriousness. But when we are frustrated because we feel stuck in process, it is okay to take yourself less seriously and "play around" with your process. Think about changing the order and structure of your song. If you have music or a melody, in mind, consider tweaking it. If you envisioned a slow worshipful song, try speeding up the tempo. Pick random words and do a "brain dump," writing as many random things that come to mind as you can within 3 to 5 minutes.
7. Patience- My last recommendation is a virtue that not all songwriters have. Being patient with the process can be the key to writing more clearly and deeply. Too many songs written today sound like the ones written yesterday. Patience will allow you to write with a lower amount of stress with an expectation that in general, the things that are worth having, are worth waiting for.
Question for the Reader: Which one of these P's do you think is the most helpful when you have writer's block?