As an independent musician, there are lots of factors that can eat away at your focus on composing music. You've got a day job (or a night job.) Responsibilities in your family life or social obligations often take priority. Maybe you're in school, too. So how do you find time for creative work?And, how can you clear your mind enough to compose fluidly?
Like with any endeavor, you'll make time for songwriting if you truly want to. How much time you can devote to composing, will depend on the demands of your non-musical life. With that in mind, it's important to squeeze as much out of every minute you can spare. Focus is key – and these tips will help you renew and maintain yours.
Tap into emotions (positive and negative)
Think back to a time when you felt like things were really happening with your life. Or, when you had great sadness. Emotions are powerful and when channeled you'll write better. Tapping these ideas can be simple. Even if its only a high note so far in the day you can tap that to really start a writing project. Try to remember in its full intensity how you felt. Whether it was excitement, accomplishment, sadness or some other satisfying or unhappy emotion, revisiting that memory can help you motivate its repetition, and help you turn it into music.
Inspiration from books and movies
Music-centric or not, a break to enjoy someone else's creative endeavors can help your own. Research has proven that reading fiction improves brain function, so getting lost in a novel, regardless of its subject or themes, could stimulate creativity.
Another option is the educational route: biographies, autobiographies, documentaries, and biopics about powerful or highly interesting people. Autobiography books and recently watching video doc's can trigger emotions and thoughts that can help push forward your work as music writer.
You can always benefit from learning more about your craft and the people who shape it – and you'll probably find other people's stories to be an inspiring reminder to keep working hard in your own life's endeavors.
Make time throughout your week to work
It's important that the mile markers you hope to hit are reasonable. Investing too much time in one sitting trying to compose a song section can bog you down if you don't see results right away. (You probably won't.) Your first goal shouldn't be to complete an entire song from start to finish. A lot of bands and composing artists don't even accomplish that. Your career will be more successful and more fulfilling by taking breaks and do your composing in smaller sections.
Be sensible, take your sessions in a step-by-step manner. Place an emphasis on building your your song laterally. Growing your piece over a few days can be incredibly gratifying, and that feeling will help propel your progress as a band or artist, with the added benefit of keeping you more balanced in your work.
Set a composing schedule
Once you've figured out your general songwriting plan, you need to arrange your schedule to give the sessions adequate attention. You might be tempted to devote a ton of time to music, which doesn't sound so bad at face value. But it's important to keep up with your non-musical responsibilities, too, like your job, family, and social life.
If you neglect those areas in your life, things might begin to feel imbalanced or even chaotic – which is detrimental to your creativity and your focus while you're actually working on music. And don't forget to allow for rest and exercise, too!The better your mental state, the better your creativity and composing will be.
Create a distraction-free zone
During songwriting sessions, rehearsals, or recording, turn your phone off! If you're using it for a music-related purpose, at least switch to silent and turn off all push notifications. Additional ways to increase efficiency and focus while working are:
Eat beforehand – an empty stomach is a distraction!
If you begin to idle or struggle with writer's block, take a break.
There are plenty of studies that indicate a break during long stretches of work can renew concentration.
EXERCISE: If you feel like you're burning out, five to 10 minutes of physical activity to awaken the entire body does wonders.