Even starting this blog, I am wondering how qualified I am to talk about this since I struggle with creative confidence just as much as anyone. I think it's important though to be open about the things that scare us and hear other people's thoughts so we know we are all in the same boat.
When I was at Belmont, I took a songwriting class with about 8 other people. In the class, we had to write a song each week and share it with the rest of the class so they could help critique it and give feedback to make you a better songwriter. Growing up, I wrote songs a lot with my family (we were the annual bluegrass band every year at our church's Christmas show), but every time I stepped in that class, I got really bad imposter syndrome! Looking back, there were a lot of good songwriters in that class, so I think I was a little intimidated. When I went to write my song to share each week, I felt like I couldn't think of anything good enough. I would sit there in my dorm for what seemed like forever with my empty notebook, and any words, phrases, or melodies that came to my mind never seemed good enough. Needless to say, I wasn't proud of the songs I wrote for that class, and they didn't hold any truth to my life because I was so scared about sharing anything more personal.
I didn't begin to get rid of this fear until I got so fed up with myself that I decided I didn't care if my songs were terrible. At least I would be doing something I enjoyed and being true to myself! I'm not sure if any of you have ever been crippled by having to make a creative piece that you got a little too in your head about, but if that has happened to you, I would love to have you share your story here as well!
So let's all focus now on channeling our inner School-of-Rock-Jack-Black and stick it to the man of creativity! Here are some of the mindsets I adopted in order to combat my creative lulls:
1) Remember what you have to bring to the table
Sometimes it can be most intimidating to try to be creative when you are surrounded by other artists who you consider SO creative. You end up shutting down every idea you think of you before it can have a chance to shine. Remember, God made you with your own unique brain and thoughts, so you can't compare your ideas/ life experiences to anyone else's. You got your own thang goin' on and someone out there is going to connect with your music/lyrics.
2) Take time to "free write"
This means write for a set amount of time (either words/music/melodies) without judging ANYTHING before it comes out of your brain. This sounds easy, but not judging your thoughts when everything you come up with sounds dumb is hard! It's normal to look back at your free writing and think that it sometimes sounds more like a text you might send after you've have had too many margaritas than it does a song. But once you are able to take that and start refining your ideas, you can come up with some of your most creative phrases and melodies.
3) Research your fav artist's creative processes
I love this video Jon Bellion did of his song writing process. Everyone does things differently, so don't feel like if you aren't coming up with anything you love that there's no hope for you. There are like a million other ways to to try to figure out how you work best.
4) Remember how many other people are in the same boat
When there is a lot being expected of you creativity-wise, it can feel very isolating or like all this pressure is on you and you alone to come up with something great. But the truth is SO many people struggle with this and sometimes it takes just doing something until you feel good about your work. George, the drummer and co-songwriter for the 1975, completely fell apart before making their newest record and could only get over it when they decided to stop caring what people thought of their work. Put other people's expectations aside and write for you.
5) Make a creative workspace
I will be doing a blog on this later, but for me, I cannot think well in a cluttered space. I feel like my thoughts are caving on on me! I personally put things that inspire me or encourage me on the walls of my music room so I am surrounded by good vibes!
I hope these little tips help you! I would love to hear about your creative process and what helps you in dry spells, so please share below!