There are tons of content about how great it is to be a songwriter. How cathartic and therapeutic it can be, the possibility of making loads of cash, and all the lives songwriters can touch with their work. What you probably don’t hear much of is the fact that songwriters can lose their love for the craft.
But it happens, and many who lose their enthusiasm for creating music never truly get it back. Others have been lucky enough to find it back after months or years. Famous songwriter, Sting, for instance, went on an eight-year hiatus from songwriting because he lost the passion to write. Luckily, he reclaimed that love for making music and has created some gems since.
Many reasons exist as to why some songwriters lose the urge. It could be as a result of a life-changing event, a symptom of burnout, or having other unfulfilled desires. The problem is not unique to songwriters; other types of musicians and people in many other creative professions have lost their zeal for creating and/or performing. For this post, we will just be focusing on songwriters. Here are seven tips to maintain or find back the zeal for songwriting, even after many years of writing songs.
Make sure you’re doing it your way
Be honest with yourself. Are your songwriting efforts motivated by the achievements of others? Do you set out to create songs in the likeness of a celebrated musician? Does your work follow a rigid pattern based on what you were told was the "correct" way to write songs? If your songwriting is more about pleasing others than being your creative best, there is a strong chance you will get tired of it quickly. It's a good idea to know all the best practices in songwriting, but it still needs to come from a place that pleases you, rather than being based on the individual standards and expectations of people around you.
Get distractions out of your system
Creative activities such as songwriting often require 100% of your attention. Distractions can throw you off your game and reduce your productive output, and even result in frustration. If you are feeling dismayed at the quality or quantity of your work, you should try to pinpoint possible distractions and root them out. Common distractions include time spent on social media, watching TV, relationship problems, and unresolved matters of life.
Reflect on what made you start writing songs in the first place
Sometimes when you have lost your hunger for a particular thing, it's because you have forgotten why you started doing it in the first place. If your motives have changed, songwriting might become tiresome for you, instead of an activity you are passionate about. Once you remember why you began writing songs - whether to help others or help yourself - the original flair you had will likely return.
Change your environment
Tired of seeing the same people, doing the same thing every day, or traveling the same route? Sometimes a change can do you good. Often, we are not aware of the impact our surroundings can have on our mental state. But being in the same place for a prolonged period of time can be energy-sapping and demotivating. If you can't move away entirely, try visiting a new place at least once per month. This may have the effect of helping you to see new perspectives and different angles that may rekindle your creative spark.
Add a new dimension to your craft
Learning to play the guitar, piano, or another musical instrument is a great way to bolster your songwriting experience. You could also seek out new songwriting techniques and practices that diversify your usual mode of creation. Whatever the case, adding a new dimension to how you write songs can help you fall in love with the process all over again and probably even help you get better at it.
Check your circle (if they are any negative nellies weighing you down)
If you are feeling drained or weary and no longer have the drive for songwriting, it is time to check your circle to see if there are any negative emotions aimed at you. Negativity can have a devastating effect on any creative pursuit. From so-called friends discouraging you from chasing after your dreams to overbearing family members who can't see your vision, negative feedback could be seeping into your subconscious without you realizing it. The minute you cut ties with negative nellies, the sooner you will see an improvement in your outlook on songwriting - and life in general.
Take a break
Songwriting is hard work and can be just as tiring as any 9 to 5. It can be worse if you also have a day job in addition to being a songwriter. If you are feeling drained, consider taking a break. Go on a vacation, visit someone who you have not seen for a while, or just take some time off in a place where you can clear your head. While you are away, be sure not to do anything work-related. By the time you are ready to jump back in, you will probably be brimming with songwriting ideas.
No matter how much you love writing songs, it is possible to lose your drive and enthusiasm for it. But it is possible to get back your mojo by taking stock of what’s happening in your life and making the necessary adjustments.