How to Get Inspired When You Aren’t
You love to make music. You have the determination to make something great; maybe you’ve made some great tracks already. So you sit down in front of your computer, your DAW stares back at you from your glowing computer monitor, and…you got nothin’. Your wellspring of inspiration seems to be utterly dry today. But no need to be concerned. Feeling uninspired is something we all deal with.
What exactly is inspiration? Where does it come from? Well, throughout history, there have been many different theories – the ancient Greek and Nordic peoples, for example, believed that inspiration was an energy given by the gods. Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung had their own ideas about how the mind might produce this mysterious phenomenon. However, even though there is a multitude of ways to look at inspiration and what might trigger it, one thing’s for certain: you can’t just wait for inspiration to come around. It’s important to develop some strategies for cultivating your own. Here are some useful ways you can start to generate new ideas.
Sometimes we get too caught up in the procedures that we establish for ourselves, and sticking to these rigid methods can eventually start to feel formulaic and tedious. The best thing you can do is to just let loose; start adding any samples you find into your DAW, and just press all the buttons, tweak all the knobs, add random effects, just experiment without any reservations. You’d be surprised, the stuff you can come up with when working this way. You’ll find yourself sequencing some strange drum loops or melodies, and when you make one loop that has a catchy groove, you’re likely to come up with more ideas for expanding upon that foundation.
Absorb new art of all kinds
It goes without saying that, if you’re really into making music and want ideas for producing awesome new beats, you should listen to tons and tons of music from other artists. And not just those in the genre you’re working with, either – listen to music from different parts of the world, explore genres you don’t know much about, expose yourself to sonic atmospheres you might have never heard before. Aside from surfing YouTube or Spotify for new sounds, it could be even more inspiring to go see some shows, because the energy of live music is beautifully powerful.
It goes way beyond new music, too. Check and see what your local museums have on display, check out visual art exhibitions, go see a movie, play a video game with a great story and soundtrack. All of these things can help you reflect on your own creative work and come to understand how you can evolve.
Whether it’s lifting weights, skateboarding, swimming, riding a bike, or just going for a walk, exercise is incredibly beneficial for getting the creative juices flowing. Not to mention that it’s crucial for a healthy lifestyle. You might already work out on a normal basis, but are you contemplating new melodies or drum patterns while you do so? Are you thinking about different combinations of effects, or panning tricks, or anything else that might get you working on a new track, just to see what your ideas would sound like? While your brain is producing the endorphins resulting from a good workout, you can ride those waves of positive energy and expand your imagination. Next time you do any kind of physical exercise, ponder what kinds of new things you could do in a track, and see what you come up with. You may surprise yourself!
Don’t beat yourself up
This is probably the most important tip I can give you. It’s all too often that we mistake a lack of inspiration for a lack of talent. Don’t fall into this trap. If you’ve made decent beats before, then not only are you capable of doing it again, you’re capable of expanding and becoming better and better at your craft. The key is to not continually tell yourself that you’re not good enough. Part of cultivating inspiration is cultivating confidence, and the more confident you are about your skills with production, the more likely it is that you’ll become inspired to work on new tracks.
You have to practice coming up with new ideas, and learn to go with them to see what they develop into – even if they’re not immediately exciting to you. The most constructive kind of inspiration is the one that you make for yourself, just by believing in the potential of your own ideas, because that’s how you learn to be independent and really let your talent shine. You can do plenty of things to spark the flow of creativity, but when you learn to generate your own energy, that’s when you become truly unstoppable.