Set Arbitrary Limits

Try this. Give yourself 20 minutes of uninterrupted time and write a first draft of a chorus, from start to finish. There are no restrictions other than the time limit. After 20 minutes, assess your progress. If you like where it’s going, carry on. If not, simply end the exercise and try it again later.

If this helps you, do it again tomorrow and the next day. Customize it to your liking. If you need 40 minutes, then make your time limit 40 minutes. If you are more productive with a shorter time frame, adjust accordingly.

The goal is to approach songwriting from a new angle (hence the time limit). Any new angle like this can help you break out of old habits, i.e. writer’s block. Find other types of restrictions you can impose on yourself to achieve the same thing. For example, write a song based on an article in the newspaper, or find an arbitrary list of 10-15 words and write a song that must contain every word from the list.


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