Do you get anxious from just hearing the term “producer’s block”?
I do. That’s how awful it can be if you get it!
It’s the one thing that stops us music producers from being able to work even if we wanted to. It makes us feel like we have no inspiration. No ideas. Nothing. Everything just sucks!
We have all been there at some point…
But let me tell you, there are ways to overcome it.
I wrote this step-by-step guide on how to overcome a producer’s block based on personal experience. I’ve been producing music for a decade and this is what I’ve learned. I have included clear actionable steps that you can do right now to get back to creating hits!
Like everyone, I still suffer from producer’s block every once in a while but I’m able to quickly turn it around within days (even hours!).
Let’s get right into it, shall we?
1. Find Out Why
OK, first of all…
There’s always a reason why a producer’s block happens. It won’t just magically appear for no reason. There’s something in the mind that acts as the trigger.
We should figure out the reason for the producer’s block by simply asking ourselves questions. Once we learn what’s happening in the mind, we can solve it.
Now (yes, right now!) take a piece of paper and a pen to answer to the following questions:
- Do I have motivation to create ANY music right now? Or am I struggling with a specific task?
- Am I stressed or worried? Why?
- Do I have any goals and dreams I’m striving towards?
- Am I having fun creating music?
By answering these questions you will learn what’s running through your head. If you just keep the thoughts locked up inside, it’s very difficult to recognize what’s really happening.
Great, now we have taken the first step. Let’s move forward to get you back on track!
2. Eliminate Stress
Stress is the killer of creativity. We all know this. The mind cannot be at ease when you’re stressed.
Being stressed and worried makes the mind go crazy. It’s constantly racing. Thoughts are popping up from nowhere and soon you’re stressed out about being stressed out.
Sounds familiar, right?
To be able to create amazing music, you need to focus deeply and be in a relaxed state of mind.
You need to get the control back by getting the stuff out from your head.
Here’s what you should do when you’re stressed:
- Sit down comfortably with a piece of paper and a pen.
- Recognize the things that stresses you out (Often they are just thoughts that you can’t get rid off).
- Write them down. Don’t think how you write, just pour all the thoughts down on paper.
After writing the thoughts down, you start realizing that you may be stressed and worried for no reason. Even if there’s a valid reason for the stress, you can solve it easier because it’s out of the head.
By the way, meditation is scientifically proven to relieve stress. Read here why every musician should practice meditation.
3. Set Goals
A producer’s block might happen because you feel like you’re not moving forward. It might feel like you’re constantly working on your craft but nothing is happening
I’ve been there…
In reality, it’s only a feeling. If you constantly work, it’s almost inevitable not to move forward one way or another.
You just don’t realize it…
Do you have any short-term goals or challenges?
To keep moving forward and actually see the progress yourself, it’s crucial to have goals you strive for.
By setting short-term goals and challenges for yourself, you will constantly get small victories. By reaching a goal you set up for yourself, you get an instant feeling of success. Those are the things that keeps you motivated.
Let’s set up a small challenge for you right now:
- Figure out the ONE THING you’ve been procrastinating on for weeks and challenge yourself to do that one thing still today! If it’s a bigger project, then take the first steps today.
Do you know how good it feels to finally do that one thing you’ve been putting off for weeks?
I dare you to do that ONE THING right now. No matter how small or big it is. Do it!
After it’s all done, you can read this guide How To Set Smart Goals.
4. Absorb Ideas
Being constantly inspired is the key to being able to create music on a steady pace.
The music you create comes from the ideas and inspiration that are absorbed around you. Ideas don’t appear from nowhere…
When you find yourself on the verge of a producer’s block, take action and start absorbing inspiration from every possible source. Who knows, maybe you just need to hear that one song that gets you going again!
Here’s what you should do to get the inspiration flowing again:
- Listen to music with no distractions (turn of TV, phone and computer).
- Watch a movie or documentary of any kind. You can be inspired by anything.
- Go to YouTube and watch music producers working in the studio.
- Visit the library and read a book. Self-development books are inspiring with great stories and actionable tips!
- Collaborate with another musician. You can learn so much!
- Meet a friend and just chat. It helps to get your mind out of music.
Our mind can be inspired by anything around us.
Finding inspiration for music doesn’t mean it has to come from music. Not at all.
In fact, I often get the best ideas and realizations when I’m out running. By exercising I give my mind a pause. Then all of a sudden the ideas starts flying. Few times I’ve had to run quickly back home to write the ideas down.
When we constantly keep creating new music one song after another, we might forget to experiment with new things. We almost get lost in the process.
We might start each song the same way using same instruments, chords and drum patterns because we know they work.
Eventually the process can become dull and then there’s a good chance the producer’s block will hit you.
It’s absolutely essential to keep trying new things.
Here’s ways you can start experimenting right now:
- Do you always start your tracks the same way? Switch it up!
- Do you always use the same sounds and instruments? Get some new sounds! You can get some awesome free VST plugins here.
- Do you always stick to one genre or style of music? Try something totally different.
- Try creating a Remix! It can be a lot of fun and you’ll find new ideas easily.
- Collaborate with another producer! It can be extremely beneficial.
There’s a thousand ways to experiment with music. You just have to realize what you always do the same way and then switch it around.
What are you waiting for? Go and experiment!
6. Don’t Force It
Every once in a while you might force yourself to create something you wouldn’t want to.
Perhaps you’re trying to please your fans by creating a track they want to hear, not what you want. Or maybe you’re working for a client and you’re not pleased with the end result they want.
And all of that is totally fine…
But, you have to realize when you’re forcing it too much because then it can result into a producer’s block.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Is there a way to make the project better?
- Can I get someone else to do it for me?
- Do I really have to do this?
Never be afraid to say “no” to anyone. That’s probably the most important skill you can learn.
If you don’t want to do something, you don’t have to!
In the end, nothing bad is going to happen by saying “no” to a project. If you explain the situation in a kind way and the client gets pissed off and angry, maybe they shouldn’t be your client anyway.
By learning to say “no” to the wrong things you give room for the right things.
7. Press Pause
We feel like we constantly have to hustle 24/7 every single day. But, do we?
We need to work hard but we also need to work wisely. Sometimes hitting pause is just being wise.
A producer’s block can be a sign from your mind saying: “Hey, I need a break…”.
And that’s totally fine. Sometimes all you need is a small break!
Our mind needs rest the same way our body does after exercising. It makes sense. We can’t expect our mind to be sharp and creative all the time if we don’t allow it to rest, as well.
Consider taking a small break from music. It can be for just one day or as long as you feel like you’re so excited that you cannot wait to get back to work!
I have one suggestion though…
Also take a break from social media. That’s a bold suggestion, but let me tell you, it has a huge effect on your mind!
When we constantly browse the Internet and especially social media we overload our mind with too much stuff that shouldn’t go there. We’re absorbing too much unnecessary information that don’t really help us in any way.
Do this for 24 hours:
- Don’t open your computer or touch the music equipment.
- Turn off the Internet from your phone.
- Go outside, hangout with friends, exercise, read books, cook an amazing dinner, just enjoy the moment.
Trust me, nothing bad is going to happen if you get off the radar for 24 hours.
Last Words About Producer’s Block
When you get hit by the infamous producer’s block, don’t worry. It will always pass. You know this.
It’s not a magical thing that happens for no reason. It has everything to do with your mind. Everything happens for a reason.
By following this step by step guide, I’m sure you’ll be back creating hits in no time!
Post a comment below and let me know if this guide helped you!