How to overcome producer’s block

Remember when you started producing and overcame that initial hurdle of getting used to your DAW and everything was new and exciting? This period in a producer’s progression often comes paired with a lot of motivation and inspiration. However, unfortunately, every good thing comes to an end. Everyone gets to a point where they’re frustrated with a lack of inspiration. Sometimes this period can last up to months. A Producers Block can be defined as:

“A condition in which a producer loses the ability to produce new work, or experiences a creative slowdown”.

While a producer’s block can cause a lot of frustration and make you doubt your abilities, it’s important to remind yourself that it’s a natural part of being a producer. Using the right strategies to address producer’s block can help you achieve creative success. That’s why we made this article with tips and strategies to help you overcome your producer’s block.


Image: Leonid Pasternak — The Passion of Creation

Limit your gear

One of the biggest mistakes producers make is hoarding gear and samples. When you have many options it can make you indecisive and distract you. Sometimes when you have fewer options it can make you more creative because you have to make what you have work for you. That’s why it’s recommended to limit the amount of VST’s, gear and samples you’re using.

Get new production gear

Contradictory to limiting gear, getting new gear can help boost your creativity. Whether it be getting a new synthesizer, VST, FX or samples it can be a lot of fun to play with new toys. It’s, however, important to realize when buying new gear becomes a distraction. Master what you have before considering buying something new.

Focus on different parts of the production process

Work on sound design, watch tutorials, brainstorming for samples that you can use in your production.The great thing about electronic music production is that there are tons are different things you could be working on besides making tracks. Here are some ideas of other things you could work on:

  • Sound design
  • Reading a Book
  • Mixing/Mastering
  • Listen to music for inspiration
  • Read a book

    One of the great things about reading is that it’s a totally different way of learning and it doesn’t feel like “work”. Even though most progress will be made by actually getting your hands dirty and producing, brushing up your theory and using multiple ways to learn has benefits of its own. A book that is highly relevant to this particular problem is “The Mental Game of Electronic Music Production” written by Jason Timothy.

    Challenge yourself

    Sometimes you have to break habits to get creative. That’s why challenges can be an excellent way to get motivated. Here are some ideas for challenges to get the creative juices flowing:

    • Make a track in a different genre than you’re used to
    • Make a track at a higher or lower BPM than you’re used to
    • Limit yourself to using only 5 tracks
    • Set a time limit like the “Against The Clock” series. If you’re not feeling comfortable completing a track within an hour, try 2 or 4 hours instead.
    • Join a remix competition or try to remix one of your own tracks
    • Recreating one of your all-time favorite records
    • Produce a track with only audio files
    • Do a collaboration with one of your friends

    Are none of these challenges helping? Then take a break!

    Take a break

    Take a break and wait for the inspiration to come back. Feel assured that you have done everything in your power to overcome your Producer’s Block. In this article by BBC News it’s highlighted that a lot of the times people are at their most creative when they are not actually playing their instruments.By studying musicians and asking them when inspiration struck them, researchers found that breakthrough moments often happened when players were humming to themselves or tapping out rhythms on the table.

    Rink, one of the researchers points out that there is no magic formula for unlocking creativity:

    “Developing a creative voice takes time. It takes experimentation, patience and there may be no predictable course of development that one can expect to follow. You never really know when creative insight will be achieved or how to get it but prolonged consideration, trial and error, and concentration are all very much part of it … it is a lifelong journey. It never really ends.”

    We’re all used to making long hours behind the computer. Because we’re so obsessed we can sometimes forget about our own health. That’s why you should consider leaving your surroundings to go for a walk in the woods, park, beach or anywhere in nature. This will help you clear your mind and come back fresh.

    Conclusion

    Don’t be frustrated by your lack of inspiration: We all go through it. Instead of giving up right away, remind yourself of your goals and do everything in your power to overcome your producer’s block. If it doesn’t help, rest assured you have done everything in your power to break it and it’s clear you need a break.

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