How To Finish Songs Faster & Beat Writer's Block (3 Easy Tips)

beat the block

Writers block sucks. Flat out. Whether it’s a lack of motivation, inspiration, sense of direction or all three, it’s disheartening to say the least. Jason Boyd, commonly known as “Poo Bear,” is a renowned song-maker, penning massive hits for Justin Bieber, all the way to Dan and Shay. Fair to say he’s a pro, and this pro says he’s never experienced writer’s block. Ever. Says he doesn’t believe in it. Is Poo Bear superhuman? Is he lying about never experiencing writer’s block? I don’t think so. Actually, I think there are some core beliefs he has and key actions he’s taken, so that his creative process is set up to be bulletproof against writer’s block. I think you and I can learn from Jason, and figure out how to do the same thing.

🗞️ American Songwriter's interview w/ Jason:

Pro Tip 1: Learn Other Parts of Song-making 📖

Out of necessity, Poo Bear (Jason Boyd) figured out how to write and produce his own songs. He said, “no one was going to do it for us.” A massive advantage in the long run, because by the age of 12 he was comfortable with the different skills of making a song. Songwriting, recording, producing, mixing and mastering. While these parts are all different, they compliment each other and inform one another. By learning other parts of the process, it gives you the ability to work on the same song from different angles. I have found this means you can get re-inspired easier. Because you can “switch hats” so to speak, between songwriter, producer, audio engineer and mixing engineer. By learning more than just songwriting, it gives you a chance to stay in motion, instead of coming to a full stop.

Pro Tip 2: You Are Responsible For Your Own Inspiration 💭

Jason says he’s “inspired by great, undeniable music that's truly unique.” He says it makes him WANT to create just after listening to a piece of music that has those qualities. Can you relate to this? After just hearing a song, or watching a behind the scene of your favorite artists, producers or writers in the studio, don’t you just feel pumped up? Go for a drive, blast songs and get this feeling Jason is talking about. It’s one of the simplest ways to get inspired!

Don’t be picky about where your inspiration comes from. Don’t judge it. Jason shares that his song ideas come from all kinds of random things. He says, “whether they are from daily conversations to billboards, movies, or commercials, I get great concepts for songs from everything all around me.” The reason why is because he allows them to come from anywhere. There’s no filter on incoming ideas. I completely agree with this. For the sake of practicing songs, and improving your skills, improving your workflows, you’ve got to just MAKE songs. About anything and everything. However wild, however random the inspiration is.

Pro Tip 3: Consistent Creation Is The Ultimate Hack 🛠️

This is wild, and awfully bold. Jason states, “I’ve never experienced writer’s block because I know that not everything I create, I am going to love. Whether I love something or not, I know I have to just get it out.” Wow, he says he’s NEVER experienced writer’s block and I believe him. Why? Because it’s the mindset shift that I had to make myself just a couple years ago. It’s the perspective that professional song-makers share, and it’s what separates them from creating music as a hobby and creating music as a job.

⚠️ The mindset shift is this: you have to detach your identity from your artistry.

Your art is amazing. I believe it’s a gift from God, I believe it honors God to use the musical gifting he’s entrusted you with. But my friend, the songs you make are just something you do. It’s not who you ARE. You are not the sum of great songs you write. Operating from this mindset frees you of insecurities that cause writer’s block. Because there’s no pressure for what you create to be a masterpiece. It’s just another song. It’s another opportunity to exercise your skills and continue to refine your process.

What happens is, your pace speeds up. The songs you make per year will rise. Like Jason says, “I have to get something out every day, no matter if I end up loving the song or not.” Your capacity to create actually increases. And simply because the volume of your work is increasing, the number of “great” or “awesome” songs in your catalog will increase as well. This is the process, for every few songs you make, a good one comes out of it. And for every few good songs you make, a great one comes out of it. And so on. It’s about refinement and seeing each song as an important part in that process.

Flip the internal switch to start caring more about the song-maker you’re becoming today, than the song you’re making today.

You've got this!

– Nathan

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