How to Reassess Your Workflow to Spark Creativity

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Unless you’re a bonafide musical wizard, you probably get stuck in a creative rut every now and then.

Good habits are important for writing songs, but they can also limit creativity and curb ideas.

It might sound odd, but complete creative freedom is what most of us are after. Sticking to the same musical playbook over and over again threatens that freedom in a big way.

Reassessing the way you create music from top to bottom is one of the best ways to figure out what’s working and what needs to change to find that creative freedom.

Here’s some tips for reassessing your workflow and making positive changes.

Take an unflinching look at your writing process

Habits can’t be broken without being recognized.

No two songwriters or producers work in the same way, so take some time figuring out exactly how you make music.

Habits can’t be broken without being recognized.

You don’t need to write things down, but you should if you think it would help. It’s the best way to get a full picture of how you make music, from the first thing you do to the completed song.

Here’s an example of someone’s unique songwriting process written down from start to finish:

  • Create a chord progression with synths
  • Add in two or three other chord progression sections, and start forming structure
  • Create a melody by singing over chords
  • Write lyrics to fit with melody and phrasing
  • Add supporting instrumentation––percussion, bass, etc
  • Add production and mixing elements
  • Master, promote, and release

When you’ve got a good look at your unique process, try figuring out what’s not working about it.

For example, if you always start writing by creating a drum beat, experiment beginning with something else.

The first two or three steps in the songwriting process are the most crucial, so reassessing and changing those up will help in a big way.

Define your strengths and weaknesses as a songwriter

What in your songwriting process brings out your strengths and weaknesses?

Leaning in to those thoughts and defining what’s not working about your writing will help you make positive changes.

If an element isn’t critical or doesn’t help your process, try changing that up as well. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your process once you’ve reassessed.

Take time to define the areas of your process that show your skills in the best light.

Can you deliver that same creativity and enthusiasm to the parts of your process that are lacking?

Think about the things you find inspiring and memorable in another artist’s music.

If you’re feeling especially stuck, do some research into the unique songwriting process of some artists you admire.

If you’re feeling especially stuck, do some research into the unique songwriting process of some artists you admire.

For example, a fascinating 2016 interview with Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood talks about the band’s unique writing process.

Greenwood thinks of Radiohead as arrangers of the ideas Thom York brings into the studio. Don’t be afraid to draw inspiration and concrete writing ideas from your favourite artists.

Identify what’s holding you back

From an old guitar amp that cuts in and out to a collaborative relationship that’s run its course, reassessing your process means cutting out everything holding you back.

The instruments we write and record with have a big impact on the music we make, as do the musicians in the room with us when we’re writing.

The instruments we write and record with have a big impact on the music we make, as do the musicians in the room with us when we’re writing.

Gear is obviously an easier topic to scrutinize than your collaborators.

If an instrument or piece of music gear isn’t functioning properly or inspiring you, then it should be replaced.

Before you sever ties with a musician you work with try writing a few songs without them and see what feels and sounds different.

If you find that your process is consistently more creative and inspired without them, it might be time to gracefully make a change.

Develop a new idea in a way you’ve never tried before

Now that you’re armed with a clearer perspective about your process, it’s time to try doing something new.

What that new thing is changes for everyone, but it should be different than how you’re used to kicking your usual process off.

Add in new instruments, collaborate with new songwriters, write lyrics about something you’ve never explored before in your music.

Since you now know your usual songwriting process habits, it’s time to break them and take some creative risks. If this makes you feel uncomfortable, then you’re doing it right.

No matter who you are and how you make music, you’re bound to gain a lot by trying to be thoughtful about your process.

By paying close attention not only to how you write but also the world around you, musical ideas and inspiration will be easier to find.

The post How to Reassess Your Workflow to Spark Creativity appeared first on LANDR Blog.

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