How I Cured Writer's Block with One Easy Step
"Writing can be a real bitch sometimes. I look back over the 20 or so years that I've been writing songs and I see some of the most transcendent moments of my life, along with moments of frustration so deep that it shook the fabric of who I am, or who I think I am or want to be. There have been times when words and music flowed out of me as if they had a life of their own, as if they had always existed. And then there have been times when I felt there were no melodies left anywhere in the universe, and even if there were I was not deemed worthy enough to find them.
I know that this is not at all uncommon. We even have a name for it: Writer's Block. And I would wager that there is not a writer or artist alive or dead that has not stared in horror at a blank page or canvas, the great VOID looming before them. It seems that struggle is a natural part of creating art, at least it has been for me.
When it came time for me to start writing for my band's fifth album, I found myself facing the worst case of writer's block I had ever experienced. Maybe it was the pressure of following up a successful album. Maybe it was that I had no home at the time and was staying with friends and family while I figured out where I wanted to live. Maybe it's because I was in the middle of an existential crisis and didn't know which way was up. I don't know what the reason was, but I know it was very real and there were just no songs coming.
I mentioned to an artist friend of mine the trouble I was having and she empathized and gave me the number for her life coach that had helped her through a similar experience. I was willing to try anything at this point, so I promptly made an appointment. Her response to my dilemma? "Oh, that's easy. We'll have you cured in a week." My response to her response? "Yeah, right."
As it turns out, she WAS right, and it was so very simple. The homework she gave me was this: Write 3 bad songs. Really bad, on purpose. Well, that sounded doable and approached it with some enthusiasm. That's when something magical happened.
The first two songs were utter pieces of shit that I will never play for anyone. Then, with the third song, I felt something shift and I started to have that feeling of freedom I get when things are flowing. Before I knew it, I was writing songs that I loved and all the songs I needed appeared as if out of nowhere (which is, after all, where they come from). There was still some blood sweat and tears involved, but I felt the block lift and it felt like a miracle.
What did this tell me about writer's block? That it is merely the fear of writing something "bad". We get so afraid of creating something people won't like that it keeps us from creating anything at all. So, when you remove the fear of creating bad art and even give yourself permission for it to be bad, you set the Muse free to do her job. It is only our fear that holds her prisoner.
So, whatever it is you do, whether you're a professional artist or amateur writer or just longing to create something; do yourself a favor. Allow yourself to make things that aren't perfect. That's how you get to the good stuff."
The Pierce's fifth album, Creation is out now.
They continue their UK tour on the following dates:
23rd, London, O2 Shepherds Bush Empire
24th, Birmingham Glee Club
25th, Cambridge Junction
27th, Liverpool O2 Academy 2
28th, Nottingham Rescue Rooms