When you’re making a living off of art, be that painting, dancing, or creating music, waiting for inspiration is not an option. Any artist will tell you that yes, inspiration is very much real and there will be moments when you will feel more compelled and inspire and the work will come out without you even trying. But that doesn’t mean you get to sit and rest on the days that it feels like you can’t even get a note out and you can’t even imagine writing a new song. When there’s no inspiration, you still need to be making music.
The process of writing and composing a new song has a lot to do with creativity. Though a lot of people seem to believe creativity is either something you’re born with or you aren’t, that’s not entirely the truth. Creativity is like a muscle and it needs to be constantly exercised even when you’re not using it so that it’s there when you need it.
Like Every Muscle, You Need to Work it
Every person looking for a steady job as a musician needs to constantly work on their creativity, even those who were “born with it”, because well, life happens. And when you have a deadline to meet and a song to write, you can’t just say “I’m not feeling creative today” and wait for the day you feel like doing your work.
Like any other skill, creativity can be honed it. There are no universal recipes. Ask 10 creative persons how they do it and you’ll get 100 different answers. What everyone can agree on is that showing up daily, daring to take a bold risk, and being consistent, are some of the key elements to making your creativity work for you whenever you need it.
- Make it a Habit: great writers write every day, especially when they don’t feel like it and even when they have nothing to say. Songwriters can take a cue. It doesn’t matter if you’re not writing a song per se, just the act of writing should be something you do on a daily basis. Whether is a diary entry, a short poem, a huge story, a review, or even a long think-piece on whatever is on your mind. The important thing is that you show up day after day and write regardless of your motivation.
- Get Out of Your Comfort Zone: a good way to get your creativity going is to step out of what makes you feel safe and comfortable. Don’t take it too literally, though, we are referring to trying something that maybe you’ve been too shy to try before or something that you’re scared to fail at. This can be grabbing a different instrument for the first time, experimenting on a different genre, or trying to write a song about something you never considered before. Just get out of your routine and try something different once in a while.
- Be Committed: don’t just think about working on your creativity when you’re in the middle of a creative block. Actually, be consistent about exercising and sharpening your skill. This is what will ultimately make the difference between letting a creative block beat you or showing up for work no matter what.