Arlen Roth on Fixing Writer’s Block
Sometimes when we feel like we should be in an incredibly productive “place” and that we should be very prolific, we can also find that we have a form of “writer’s block.” This can apply to many kinds of things, but for me since I am a writer as well as a songwriter, I can find myself “blocked” in many ways.
Song writing is quite a daunting task, and my hat is truly off to those who many years ago would literally “report” every day to their songwriting offices and churn out those hits! I’m sure many of these very actively creative folks also had their own unique brands of “writer’s block”, and each one also most likely dealt with it in their own way. It’s almost as if it’s something that simply “comes with the territory” and that is a natural and normal part of the natural “ebb and flow” of being a writer of any kind.
They say that genius is 10% inspiration and 90% “perspiration”, and even though I may have the percentage numbers wrong, there’s no question that the best way to overcome any “block” you may have is to simply persevere and to push through those dormant times with real productiveness and a positive attitude. The creative side of you will surely return if you are diligent and forceful in your persistence to put some more notes and words on the board!
Of course with “writer’s block” the focus is on getting a project started, and finding the right feeling, mood, inspiration or whatever else you need to get things off on the “right foot.” Some projects can take a long time, and there’s no need, unless you’re really “under the gun” to feel so pressured about getting any particular project done. The artistic mind must do its thing on its own time, and you certainly would always be better off to “not force it” when it comes to writer’s block” or any other creative endeavor that really needs your fully creative self.
I used to love the old days for me of when I’d have deadlines on books I was writing, and how I could take a break from my writing for a “deadline”, and go out at 3AM to a little Manhattan luncheonette and have some coffee and something to eat. That would really help me clear my head, and would act as a true “refresher” for my writing process.
So always respect the fact that a job must get done no matter what, and that writer’s block, whether for a song or a book must always be looked at as only a minor hurdle to jump over on the way to productivity and inspiration! Good luck!
Gibson.com’s Arlen Roth, affectionately known The King of All Guitar Teachers, is music lesson pioneer and the quintessential guitarist. An accomplished and brilliant musician — and one of the very few who can honestly say he’s done it all — Roth has, over the course of his celebrated 35-year career, played on the world’s grandest stages, accompanied many of the greatest figures in modern music and revolutionized the concept of teaching guitar.