We use cookies to track usage and preferences. See Cookie Policy
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
   You are currently viewing the Italy version of the site.
Would you like to switch to your local site?
Digital Subscriptions >  Latest Articles > WHEN THE MUSE GOES MISSING!

Songwriting Magazine


Posted giovedì 22 febbraio 2018   |   1581 views   |   Music   |   Comments (0) Nashville songwriter Mark Cawley shares some tactics for reviving those elusive creative juices when you’ve lost the flow

It sucks when you sit down to write, you have the time, you have the will, you have the tools and... Nothing. Nothing for hours, nothing for days. You beat yourself up and the critic takes center stage. “How did you ever come up with anything in the first place?” “What makes you think someone will actually want to record your song?” “You call yourself a songwriter... really?”.
Lots of names for this, probably the most familiar is writer’s block. You’ve also heard writers refer to their “muse” usually talking about it as if it were a woman who provides inspiration. Great when you’re in a relationship with your muse and ideas are flowing but what do you do when the muse goes missing?


First of all I would say, if you’re depending on inspiration in the form of a muse, you’re already in trouble. You may be inspired sometimes and come up with something that feels almost like you were guided but the truth is if you plan to do this as a career you can’t depend on the muse being around 24/7.
So what do you do? You prepare. You prepare for the times that you want to write but don’t feel that divine inspiration. Great when inspiration shows up but you can get old and poor waiting!


Over the years I picked up lots of tips from writers and artists I’ve worked with about this subject and ways to deal with it. For instance, deciding to be intentional in your search for lines and titles. Things that could make their way into your writing at a later date. Wandering down book store aisles, watching TV and movies with a pad and pen waiting for that one great line. Taping the smallest of ideas, snippets of melodies, conversations, anything that might take the place of the muse for a day and get you writing.

Keeping a running list of lines, titles and ideas and keeping it nearby can get you unstuck and the truth is, if you like something enough to write it down or record it in the first place there might just be some magic there that you can tap into later. Thinking of your path as a writer’s life instead of a day at a time, more like a marathon than a sprint, can begin to ease the pressure of a bad writing day. It’s hard enough looking at a blank piece of paper but if you’re waiting on your muse to show up to get you going it can be a loooooong day.


Try using some tools to get you unstuck. Switch instruments, try creating your melody away from your instrument, deconstruct songs you love, spend a day just listening, immersing your self in one artist. Once you decide this stuff is every bit as valuable as the days in front of your computer, keyboard
or guitar it actually starts to be freeing. Less pressure. I might not be telling you anything you don’t already know, but putting these things into practice and perspective is the deal. It’s a revelation to find that the muse
is just one of the tools available to you as a songwriter.
I promise if you focus on learning more and more tools, the next time the muse goes missing you might not even miss her!


For more great articles like this get the Winter 2017 issue of Songwriting Magazine below or subscribe and save.

Single Issue - Spring 2018 Replica Edition included
Or 229 points
Annual Digital Subscription
Only € 1,37 per issue
Or 549 points

View Issues

About Songwriting Magazine

Songwriting is a magazine aimed at songwriters and at fans of song-led music – of all genres. We take advice from successful songwriters, producers and industry experts to provide you with tips, techniques, ideas and inspiration to keep the music flowing, from writing lyrics and melodies to advice on how to promote yourself and your songs. Plus you’ll find interviews with big name artists and rising stars, along with the latest news and reviews of new music and gear.

More great content like this...

For more great articles like this subscribe to Songwriting Magazine today.

Most read articles this month



When she took up scuba 40 years ago, Alexandra Hildred had no idea that her life would become inextricably linked with a Tudor warship. Now the Mary Rose Trust’s Head of Research and Curator of Ordnance & Human Remains, she tells STEVE WEINMAN about the lead-up to the raising of the iconic wreck, still one of the biggest such operations ever attempted. More...


Nashville songwriter Mark Cawley shares some tactics for reviving those elusive creative juices when you’ve lost the flow More...
How I got  published

How I got published

The author’s debut was actually her sixth novel, she tells Dolores Gordon-Smith More...
3 Free Reads for the New Year

3 Free Reads for the New Year

Spend all your money in December? Us too. We’ve pulled together our 3 favourite free reads available for you on Pocketmags. Everyone loves a free read! More...
News from the world of the piano

News from the world of the piano

Argerich and Babayan in Cleveland More...
5 Digital Magazines for Spring

5 Digital Magazines for Spring

Here at Pocketmags, we simply cannot wait to welcome in a new season of bloom and blossom. Jumpstart your motivation with our selection of 5 digital magazines for spring. More...
3 Fitness Trends You Haven’t Tried

3 Fitness Trends You Haven’t Tried

We’ve all heard of the crazy exercises people are trying - from animal yoga to orange theory. But if one of your New Year's resolutions is to get fit and find some sort of exercise you’ll enjoy then maybe you will love one of these… More...
Take your research to the next level

Take your research to the next level

Starting with this issue, and running all through 2018, the Academy learning experience will help you learn more about the records, resources and research skills you need to become the best genealogist you can be. We have case studies for you to pit your wits against, documents for you to decipher, old handwriting for you to tackle, and more… More...
How to Celebrate Valentine’s Day Without a Valentine

How to Celebrate Valentine’s Day Without a Valentine

It’s been hitting you in the face since the 1st of February, from the red and pink hues occupying every storefront window, to the heart-shaped boxes of chocolate taking over your local supermarket, there is simply no escaping the mushy romantic vibes of Valentine’s Day. More...
5 Free Ways to Celebrate Valentine's Day

5 Free Ways to Celebrate Valentine's Day

It’s the one, and the only day of the year that is devoted to a crazy, little thing called love. Where all you need are three words, eight letters and twenty-four hours to steal the heart of the one you most desire. More...
Vouchers Carte Regalo Un abbonamento rivista è il regalo perfetto , ma avrete bisogno di qualcosa da mostrare il grande giorno. Altro
Modalità di pagamento Pocketmags Payment Types
A Pocketmags si ottiene Fatturazione sicura Ultime offerte HTML Reader Regali Loyalty Points