The Battle of the Block

The other night my girlfriend and I traveled out to the Sidewalk Cafe to listen to the wonders of The Open Stage. We listened for a couple of hours and somewhere during the night, Jill (the aforementioned & quite wonderful gf) said that she would love to see me play up there. Now, I have played at Sidewalk before, having done a set with my band XTRG last year. Still, this struck an odd chord with me. I was confronted with this thought…what would you play? Then came the realization that this year, I haven’t done a lot as a musician. I have very successfully done a ton of stuff on the periphery. I ran Nur Ein 5, judged SpinTunes 1 and having been blogging about music here at Audioshards. But when it comes to the making of music, I wrote Zinkline’s “Little Cuts” album and now I’m working on “Gatecrasher” and that’s about it.

I haven't been playing music alot...

So, what is holding me back?

I’ve been trying to figure out the answer to this question for about 2 years now. I have had this mental block. I don’t know if it’s a fear of failure, if it is just some aspect of my depression (depression makes it hard for me to focus especially on things I enjoy) or if its something else.  I am happy with all the periphery stuff that I’ve done. I’m in the midst of a huge secret project for Songfight (that I’ve been working on all year). Audioshards has been wonderful and I am happy to be a part of both the Songfight and Spintunes communities. I just need to figure out why I am not making music. It’s not a question of finding time or having the energy, etc. This is a real mental thing. It’s like a writer’s block.

I ask you, those who have stumbled across Audioshards, what drives you to making music? Have you ever had a block where you wanted to make music (or art, writing…) but something inside you was stopping you? What did you do?

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3 Responses to “The Battle of the Block”

  1. noah mclaughlin Says:

    My musical output has been down a lot lately, too. I think the first thing is to not be intimidated by the block itself; it’s easy for it to become a self-perpetuating cycle. Secondly, I think a lot of the “periphery” stuff is just awesome and an equally valid creative output, so don’t think that you haven’t been active.

    I am often the most inspired after encountering good music – especially live. So, my advice if you want to get back to writing songs is to go out and see some shows.

  2. Fear of judgement, both from others and my own inner critic is probably the worst blocker for me.

    One really freeing exercise I’ve done a bit lately is just to write a song a day, no judgements or expectations, just do it and then put it away and write another one the next day. The mentor who told me about this suggested doing it for 6 months without looking at the songs, and then to go back and check them out when you have more distance from them. It separates your artist & your critic a little more that way. The artist gets to create unhindered, but by the time you take a look at the stuff 6 months later, you aren’t as attached or taking it personally when your inner critic steps in to rework the stuff. I just did it for a week but it was pretty inspiring and fun. Good luck!

  3. […] been a tough road. As I wrote in a past post, Battle of the Block, I have been dealing with a kind of writer’s block. I can write lyrics. That’s the easy […]

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