Finally getting over your creativity block

I finally out of the blue , yet feeling melancholic have finally started writing music again after a good while. I have been trying but i realised that the trying was the problem. I am sitting here with a keith mcmillen keyboard and my laptop and all my ideas are coming to me. Yet in my room full of gear i haven’t in years.

What clicking point have you folks have with creativity? I think mine is by distancing myself from the engineering aspect of me and just letting myself be bored.


My inspiration/motivation cycle is pretty short. I can bang an album out in a week when I’m at the top of the curve, but it will probably only last a week, then I’m struggling to make much for a few weeks, then I’m up again.

Funnily enough I just hit the wall having only finished about 20 minutes of a 30 minute set I’m putting together. I find sometimes I can force a bit of creativity by shutting out all other music and just listening to my own shit constantly and very analytically, but it does take a fair bit of the fun out of it.

1 Like

Mine is when i stop trying to make something. I instead concentrate on enjoyment only. If anything happens of substance its a bonus. But its not important. I know if i stop enjoying this malarkey i will quit. So i have to enjoy it.


I figured I can only continue to create when I get a SP-404 mk2 …so there is that.

@Fin25 I bet you have a hard time without a Digitone to finish that set – which is totally understandable from my point of view.


I usually try to learn something new that I can make with the gear I have: recreate a sound I have never done with it, cover one of my favorite songs, even just a part of it, etc…

That’s one reason why I love my Octatrack so much; I feel like I will never understand it, so there is always something new to learn. :upside_down_face:

1 Like

I’ve been thinking about this a lot in the context of the “No new gear 2022” and “Commit to putting something out” threads going on (both of which I signed up for) and one thing I’m circling around is the importance of having a main brain for a production setup.

I used to do everything in Ableton with a Push 2, and I got really comfortable finishing songs in that environment. As I got more interested in hardware, I drifted away from Ableton as a home base for arranging/mixing/etc. Over time, Ableton just became the software I used to record random jams; might as well have been using GarageBand.

Now that I want to actually finish songs again, I need a new home base to bring everything together and make real progress. I dusted off my Push 2 last night and tried making some beats in Ableton, but the Push 2 is giving me some really annoying double-triggering and odd latency. Not sure what the issue is, I might’ve just left it on the shelf too long.

So instead I’m gonna do it all in Octatrack, which has some advantages and some disadvantages compared to Ableton, but at least it gives me a reliable centerpiece to build up complete ideas. I know the hyenas of “OT - sound quality” will be ready to rip me apart for this decision but it’s a risk I’m willing to take get over the block and put out real music again.

im right with you , i should learn the octa back to front then bring it everywhere with me. Would be mega

Best thing for my creativity is limitations. Not only within the piece, but outside of it too. Keeping focus and limiting your effort is huge, and when you don’t have to stress, or be distracted by anything, it’s so much easier.
One practical example is creating music in a vacuum, where you don’t have a template or blueprint. Sometimes listening to music is really inspiring, but other times it puts me in a mindset of trying to recreate that, subconsciously. It’s quite interesting though using inspiration from non-musical art, especially movies

I think I have different types of activity and can switch between them:

  • working on one pattern, learning different ways to play it
  • improving a set of existing patterns
  • creating new patterns (usually fast track a few)
  • jamming recordings of patterns - each pattern ideally is playable in more than one way and sufficiently detailed for a full track to be recorded
  • playing a live mix deliberately using stuff i’ve not played
  • gig practice/playing mixes of well known patterns
  • improvising

When one thing isn’t working, another often selects itself

I also find it quite good to have some other things from the project as a whole in progress/at hand.

  • processing recordings
  • tidying projects
  • taking samples
  • listening to jams/mixes/patterns