Ask Weiss: Maintaining Motivation and Overcoming Creative Blocks
http://theproaudiofiles.com // http://mixthru.co // New video in the Ask Weiss series: “Hey Matthew, how do you personally deal with a lack of motivation and creative blocks when it comes to making songs and/or mixing/producing.”
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So, motivation is about lifestyle more than anything else. I did find myself at one point having a lot of difficulty with being motivated, and the reasoning for this was I was on a terrible sleep schedule. I was going to bed at three o’ clock in the morning, waking up at noon, and working the entire time in between.
That’s not a good schedule for being alive. It’s definitely not good for motivation, it’s not good for being happy, and when you’re not happy, it’s really hard to be productive.
On top of that, the entire time that I was working, I was just sitting at a desk. Like, ten to twelve hours a day, day in, day out. I was not being physically active. It’s very easy to ignore the importance of physical activity, but a humongous change in terms of my own ability to be motivated came when I started forcing myself to exercise. Even doing like, twenty minutes a day as opposed to nothing, huge difference. You just got to get that blood circulating. It’s so important, I can not put words to it.
Then, the other thing is that as people, we all have our own brain chemistry, and this is going to kind of sound like a joke, but it’s really not. For the longest time, I was having trouble finding energy, and the reason being, I’m just the type of person who needs a little bit of caffeine in the morning to get going. This existed before I even started drinking coffee. It really was a humongous change in my life when I started having a cup of coffee in the morning.
Other people are different. Some people need ritalin or adderal to help them focus, because they’re so energetic, they have difficulty focusing in.
So, you know, being aware of your own natural chemistry – and that can apply to all sorts of things. It can apply to what you eat. Some people, if they don’t have sugar in their diet, they can’t get energy. Some people, if they have sugar in their diet, they immediately crash and become very lethargic.
So you have to be aware of your own personal needs when it comes to your own brain chemistry, as weird as that sounds.
But anyway, the bottom line is motivation comes down to your lifestyle, and having motivation takes a certain amount of discipline to have a lifestyle that’s conducive to being successful in our career.
Anyway. Creative blocks. So, creative blocks come from not being interested in what’s in front of us, and that can be tough to work through, because when you’re bored and something is tedious, you don’t want to do it. It’s hard to find – and it could happen for a lot of reasons.
It could be because the record is repetitive, or the performance is really lackluster, or the lyrics aren’t really giving you anything that you like, so there is a lot of stuff that can get in the way of whatever that core, creative spark was that inspired the artist to begin with, and that’s the gem that we’re really trying to find.
So, the first thing that I like to do is just first of all, just try and switch my mentality on things. It’s very easy to point out things that we don’t like and focus on those. It’s a little more challenging and a little more productive to focus on the things that we do like. To dig deep and find something that we really love about a record.
Sometimes it’s tricky! But starting there, and trying to take a positive approach is already going to shed off huge layers and obstacles when it comes to creative blocks.
Then, the other thing is that we can look at the things that we don’t like as challenges. As an intellectual stimulant to say, “Okay, this is really repetitive. How do I make it not feel repetitive?”Now, suddenly I’m starting to think in a creative way. “Okay, maybe I could do some kind of automation with filters. Maybe I could bring in some interesting delays, or some different distortions and textures that come in and out, that make this thing that keeps repeating sound different now.”So, those are a few ways just within that. Then, one of the other ways is to possibly separate yourself from the task at hand.
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