Break The Block

My friend was sharing that she was having a hard time writing songs lately. She feels blocked. Too many voices telling her what’s good or what’s not; telling her what to write and what not to; telling her what is a certain kind of song or not.

She ended her dismay by saying that she wanted the block to be removed “quickly.”

Boy do I get that. Especially if the block has been there for sometime. You just want the damned thing gone…and fast!

But rarely does it leave quickly.

In his book, The War of Art, Steven Pressfield tells a story about how he slowly began to remove the block. He was living in a trailer after his divorce, unable to finish the last 10% of a project. One day, as he stared at a pile of dishes stacked high in the sink, he realized he needed to just do something. He needed to get his body moving. So he started doing the dishes. Hot, soapy water poured over his hands, cleaning one dish at a time, until the sink was empty.

The next day he started writing again. He didn’t finish that day. But he did start again.

Blocks are rarely removed quickly or suddenly, and my experience has nearly always been similar to Steven’s. Only by taking small, deliberate, semi-consistent steps, do those blasted blocks ever go away.

I suggested that my friend begin by simply capturing every little interesting thought she had this week and finding a place to write it down.

In a month, my bet is that she’ll have a entire notebook filled with the beginnings of a hundred songs. They won’t all be good, but I imagine there will be enough for an EP. We’ll see, I suppose.

Again…let me reiterate…

Rarely are blocks removed quickly or suddenly, but I can almost guarantee, you will not be stuck forever.

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