In over 10 years of professionally producing music I have learned some great techniques to keep the ball moving. One thing that I hear from some producers is when they get "writer's block". You know the feeling, you sit in front of your gear for hours and everything comes out lame and not up to your standards. It happens to the best of us. My simple solution is to learn when to give up trying to make that hot beat and focus your energies on other aspects of your craft.
Here are some of my favorite things to do when I have writer's block:
* Sampling: Go through some old records, CDs, cassettes, movies etc and find some samples you will be able to use at a later time. Who knows you may end up making a sample based BANGER by accident.
* Sound Design: Tweak some of the samples you use already. Maybe just a little more decay & attack on your favorite snare can be added to you "go to drum sounds".
* Handle business: Copyright you songs, book shows, contact some industry folks or artists to sell beats to. Basically, use down-time to handle the Admin tasks or boring stuff.
* Reorganize your work-space: Is your set-up ergonomic and as comfortable as possible? If not now's a great time to re-arrange things. Maybe a cluttered or unproductive work-space set-up is hurting your creativity?
* Shop for new sounds: Nothing wrong with buying sounds from other producers/sound designers. Lots of producers work hard on creating custom kits and sell them. I personally from time to time buy drum samples from other producers who have good sounds just to have a healthy balance of sounds on deck besides my sounds. (don't download producer's kits from pirate-bay etc. Go buy 'em from whoever the producer is directly and support the artists - #realtalk)
* Study music: Check out styles of music you never heard of before or artist from earlier generations. All great artists in music usually incorporate many styles and ideas with their own twist. I would recommend studying some music way outside of whatever you now do, other-wise, what's the point?
* Reading a book: Read a book on anything you don't understand related to your musical career. this can be more valuable than making a hot track anyway Don't let writer's block get you down. Do some other music related stuff to further your craft, and before you know it you will magically be creating stuff again before you know it!
About Joey Cutless
Joey Cutless is a Music Producer, Composer & Engineer that has been a pioneer in online beat sales, TV licensing, and marketing of all things production related for over 15 years.