Dealing with Writer's Block
Sometimes no matter what you do, nothing comes — at least nothing that's any good. You can't get warmed up at the start of a session, you're in the middle of a new song and your brain locks up, or everything's great right up to the last line of the song and, all of a sudden, the muse has left the building. You keep trying, but nothing happens. You start to panic. “What if this feeling never goes away?”
Welcome to the club. Writer's block has been around as long as writing, and it happens to the best writers in the world. It's not fatal or permanent, though it usually feels that way. No need to panic, it usually passes quickly on its own.Breaking the Block
If you don't feel like waiting, there are several time-tested cures. Here are a few favorites for jump-starting a stalled song:
Take a break. Sometimes your brain overloads and needs to cool down. Go get something to drink, have a snack, take a walk. Don't even think about the song while you're taking a break. That's why it's called a break!
Look for corners. Have you painted yourself into a corner? Killing off your hero halfway through can make things anticlimactic. Maybe he should die in the last verse. This cure works especially well after taking a break first.
Switch gears. Stuck on lyrics? Work on the melody. Can't get the beat right? Get back to the lyrics.
Make a move. Work on a different part of the song. Chorus trouble? Skip down to the bridge. Can't get the second line of the verse quite right? Write the third line, then come back. If you have several trouble spots, try working on each one for ten minutes and then switching to a different part when time's up.
Mix it up. Rearrange the words in the line you're trying to write or rearrange the lines in that particular section of the song. You may even want to try switching the order of the verses, starting with the chorus or moving the bridge to a different spot. If it doesn't work out, you can always put things back where they were.
If you have a problem with the rhymes, look for other options. Ending a line with “orange” makes it awfully difficult to rhyme. Maybe “banana” would work better. Sometimes even a good rhyme word that fits into the song isn't the right word to use. Looking for some other options certainly won't hurt and might just solve your problem.
Whatever approach you take, keep in mind that the writer's block will pass, and you are just going to have to keep going until you get back into the flow of things.