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10 Tips to Overcome Writer’s Block

Writer’s block is something most producers will experience at some point in their career, and it can be very frustrating when they do. Here are 10 tips straight from Toolroom HQ, that’ll help you overcome it and start getting your ideas from your head, into the DAW.

1. Get a change of scenery

It’s easy to get caught up in the fine details of your record when you are constantly working on it. Getting a change of scenery will help you to have a fresh perspective when you come back to your DAW.

Going for a walk outside, taking a shower or doing some exercise are great ways to take your mind off the production process and will help you to feel refreshed when you begin working on your project again.

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2. Experiment with different genres

Try creating a track in a genre that you don’t usually produce; this can give you some fresh ideas as genres often have different ideas musically and it forces you to look at production from a different point of view, often sparking creativity when you return to your chosen genre.

3. Create a playlist of tracks that inspire you

Create a playlist of tracks that contain elements you like the sound of. It could be a particular musical part that caught your attention, or the way they have been arranged that made you add them to the playlist.

Once you have curated your playlist, listen to those tracks away from the studio space. This could be tied in with the walk mentioned in point 1. This will help you get your creative juices flowing and coming up with ideas you can add to your own productions.

This is a tactic we use at the start of our renowned 12 week Production Certificate programme.

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4. Split your sessions up

We’ve all been there, our Drums and Bassline are grooving, the synth fits perfectly when suddenly, we hit a roadblock finding a vocal idea to fit and just like that, the wind has been taken out of our sails.

When in a studio session, it can be beneficial to spend time away from producing tracks to just focus on finding good synth loops, patches, and vocals that you can use in the future.

Save your favourites in a folder so when you’re next needing that all important element, you don’t have to spend 2 hours trying to find it. You can simply browse through the ones you’ve saved specifically for that moment. This will help keep your sessions flowing as opposed to losing momentum looking.

A bonus of this is that over time you will end up with your own personal selection of sounds, which will help to create your identity as an artist.

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5. Use references

Find some tracks that are of a similar vibe to what you are trying to create. Grab a notepad, write down what elements they have and make note on how they are arranged. You can then apply this to your own record.

This is a method we use in our interactive courses and has provided great success. You can check out our online courses here

6. Recognise your track doesn’t have to be perfect

Recognising that your track doesn’t have to be perfect is an important lesson to learn! It will stop you sitting for hours tweaking the little things as opposed to progressing with your record. Getting your ideas into the DAW is what should be most important. You can always go back and tweak it later once you’ve established if the idea is good or not.

Music production can be a numbers game at times, creating 10 ideas and having 2 good ones from that is far more beneficial than sitting on 1 idea and constantly tweaking it until it’s ‘perfect’. The listener will not be looking at your DAW like you are. Being a perfectionist will stop you finishing your records.

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7. Park your record

I know it’s hard to believe when you’ve been working on a record for hours and hours, day after day but there usually isn’t actually any pressure to get it finished quickly.

If you find you’re struggling on what to do with your record next, park it. Go away and come back to it a few weeks later and see if it’s any different then. Often coming back to it with fresh ears and a new perspective will help you easily spot where you were going wrong the first-time round.

8. Go to an event

Hearing the music you like, in a club environment and seeing the reaction of the dancefloor can really help to get your creativity going.

If you speak to many an artist, this is a common method they’ve used when facing writers block. You’ll often hear of them heading out to an event and then going straight to the studio after because of all the ideas they got while being there. Events can be a great source of inspiration.

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9. Set yourself challenges

A lot of writer’s block comes from being indecisive on what direction to take with your production. Working under pressure is a great way to resolve this. It mean’s you need to commit to the ideas you have.

Grab yourself a stopwatch and set it to 30 minutes, see how far you can get in your production in that time. Working against the clock will force you to make decisions.

10. Get feedback from your peers

Send your work to some other producers you have a good relationship with and who’s judgement you trust. Sometimes having other producers listen to it for the first time can be really helpful as they will have fresh ears and no emotional attachment to the record. They will be able to provide you with their thoughts and you can use this to help push you forward.

BONUS TIP FROM MARK KNIGHT – “Don’t force it”

“No one is forcing you to make a record, my best advice would be to not force yourself to write one if you don’t have an idea of what you want to make. It’s important to have an end goal when you begin producing so you know where you are aiming to end up. Without a goal, it can be a very frustrating process. 

Take your time, get inspiration by listening to the radio or your own collection of records and then once you have a solid idea, get to work.” – Mark Knight

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Want to take your production to the next level?

Why not try one of our online programs! New producers are given the opportunity to work with Toolroom’s highly sought after A&R team on their productions.

Do you feel that no matter what you do, your tracks are missing something? Have you “hit a wall” in terms of your progress in the studio? Worst of all, have you thought about giving up?

We’re here to help. Toolroom Academy was invented to help nurture & create the next generation of talent in House, Tech House, and Techno.

We’d love to help you get to the next level with your productions!

Get in touch today! 

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