Writer’s Block – How Rappers Overcome Writer’s Block
So you heard a great beat and you want to start writing lyrics for it. The next thing you know, you’re procrastinating on Netflix and what was supposed to be a fun creative outlet has now turned into a chore or worse, it’s made you question your ability as a rapper. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. writer’s block happens to anyone who’s inventive, whether they’re working on music, art or any project that focuses on providing something valuable to the audience. So there’s no need to panic. In fact, a dry spell is not the monster it’s made out to be – there’s concrete reasons why it occurs. We’re going to go over the most common ones, as well as what you can do about them to get back on track with your creative process.
It’s important to recognize the onset of writer’s block when it first occurs and to realize that the worst way of handling it (and also the most common) is to start judging it and endlessly questioning why it happened. Stop – this temporary impasse, no matter how long, doesn’t define your value, nor does it have any correlation with your skills and calling for music. However, what does speak volumes is how you choose to react to it. With that in mind, there are generally 3 major factors that generate writer’s block:
lack of insight
We’re going to tackle each of these.
A fairly common reason why rappers meet writer’s block and stop producing music is lack of inspiration. They feel that they’ve exhausted their “content” or they’ve already shared their message and covered most of the topics they initially targeted. If you’re part of this group, I have good news for you: you’re far from done with rapping. Maybe you’re sick of your own voice or you feel that your lyrics are flat and dull. That’s fair, but you need to understand that you are your own enemy and the only one who’s placing limits on yourself.
You feel like you’ve used up a subject? Write about something completely different! You’re bored of your flow? Change it up and experiment! You don’t have enough motivation? Take a break. At some point, you’ll get hit by inspiration and it’ll be too tempting now to jot down your thoughts. Here’s a quick tip that can help you escape this type of creative rut: choose 5 random words off the top of your head, scribble them on a piece of paper and then think about how you can connect all of them lyrically. Give it a try.
Maybe you’re in the zone and hyped about writing, but you keep revising your lyrics and you can’t commit to an end result. You want everything to sound perfect, you want the rhythm and the rhyme to sync flawlessly and you don’t think your lyrics are good enough as they are. So you keep retracing your steps and looking for ways to tirelessly refine your rap.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to improve yourself, but overdoing it makes you miss out on the big picture – you can have a technically impeccable beat, but if your voice lacks passion it’ll ruin the flow. Likewise, you can come up with an atypical mix, but it’ll fascinate the audience because it’s unique and emotionally-charged. There is no “perfect verse”, the sooner you can let go of that purist ideal, the quicker you’ll get out of writer’s block and get back to doing what you love and creating amazing music.
When you find yourself postponing your writing or you getting distracted easily, you might not think that fear is the reason that stands behind what you’re doing. However, if you take a cold, honest look at your thoughts and overall mental state when you’re procrastinating, you’ll notice that there’s a little critical, pessimistic voice inside your head that’s nagging you. “What if my audience won’t like it?”, “Why can’t I sing like other rappers?”, “If I can’t come up with basic lyrics, maybe I’m no good at this”. If this sounds like you, it’s important to realize that everyone, including the rapper you idolized since you were 6, gets that voice inside their heads.
The trick is to not believe what it tells you. If you struggle with this, try replacing the negativity with helpful, constructive thoughts that allow you to feel comfortable enough to start writing again. If that isn’t your thing, then just take a break and do any other task for 5 to 10 minutes. Do an activity that makes you focus your attention on something other than your thoughts. Afterwards, come back to the pen and paper and try to write something, whatever it is. Even if you’re convinced it’s bad, think of it as a draft. If you don’t like it after you wrote it, you can change it.