Order in which you do things?

So I’ve hit some crazy writer’s block…not the normal run of it, more like over a year and a half I can’t seem to write anything that I’m happy with. I’ve cancelled a few shows because I go even more blank about 3 weeks before they happen. Anyways without going into more detail about all that…I’ve turned to the Oblique Strategy cards.

Draw 1 was “Carry on”

fitting I suppose…

Draw 2 is:

I’m interested in hearing other people’s interpretation of this, had you drawn the card, what would you be thinking?


Hey, been suffering a bout of it myself lately… Seeing this I think of my general operating procedure that gets me nowhere. Fire up machines, twist knobs, get stuck in a loop, 4 hours later I have a million things stacked on top of one loop and nothing goes anywhere. For me I think this implores me to pre-strategize, outline a direction, maybe even listen to the music in my head more than what comes out of boxes when I twist knobs. I have a difficult time finding that happy medium of jamming and writing. I also have a difficult time accepting that my intentions don’t always materialize how I had hoped. I guess I would use this to remind myself to set a mood, a movement, and a goal ahead of time, instead of relying solely on what I can get to accidently fart out my speakers.

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But you still have to leave room for happy accidents, obviously… :slight_smile:

I started using Elektron gear in the hopes that I might shed myself of ITB writer’s block. The computer workflow was either boring, or too much setup, or just not giving me the right vibes. So, I took a dive and bought a DT, really liked it and eventually acquired the Trinity. I’m having a lot of fun seeing how they work together and with each other. It’s helped me out of the funk.

I would interpret the card as examining your workflow. Can you setup your kit in a different configuration? Do you always have the same routine? Switch it up and inspire yourself!

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I have no order since I’ve been in Electronic Music- I just start with something that inspires me(I get to this point by winging it)(there’s a lot o start off with that just doesn’t sound special to me)

Typically- the music usually turns out with what you put into it. If I don’t go into the song with some sort of sentiment, then it sounds meaningless and can be deleted.

Chords and harmonys are easier for me to start with as far as beginning a track- probably from the years I made folk music- then I suppose either a melody or monotone counter point, then beats, then bass and then sound scales when I can’t seem to fit anymore musical elements.

I need to start diagraming how I want the dynamics of the song to go, though

One exercise would be to purposefully think of a composition vertically. As in, make three tracks/sounds and make an interesting 3-4 minute length track with just those parts, whilst still keeping it interesting somehow.


Hm. yeah. what is the order in which I do things? That question actually has me stumped.

Feeling writers block / self doubt / etc. Just finished an album and EP and am in that blank room of despair where “I’ll never have a good idea again!”

I actually tried to “Carry On” and make something to challenge myself (this worked really well for the second half of 2017) but the output I have so far is just making me cringe and feels like it’s re-enforcing the ‘all my good ideas are spent’ feeling. Which I know I’ve had before and gotten out of.

What is my order?

My order is apparently to ramble.

I’d think that instead of starting with what I usually start with (the drums), I’d look at writing the drums later, or even last.
Or instead of waiting to really polish up a mix when the composition isn’t quite done, something done typically late in the process, I might try to pre-master what I already have written, in an effort to “feel” it a bit more.

see also:
Ice cream, and THEN the pizza


Maybe it’s time for you to try some ACID?
Alternatively you could do something that is not related with your work, like a trip into the nature. Take something with you to write down notes (no phone! Something that is quick and doesn’t distract you).
Or even better do both in combination :wink:
Search for inspiration in a area that has not to do with you creative work. Maybe check out some art, museum, a good book (again, nothing that is work related).
Or go out in the darkest worst corner of your town, somewhere you never went before. Talk with strangers, homeless and hookers.
Inspiration and creativity will come and find you, but only when you don’t ask for it directly!


Writers block means you want to produce music but the ideas aren’t coming out. So there is a constipation of inspiration.

Devote. Pick drums, bass lines, or whatever… arrange one instrument for a full song and do it in less than 30 min. Save. Do something else. Make 10 or twenty songs that are only one instrument. Now instead of writers block you’ll have a stack of tracks. Tracks have sections isn’t it true? Write in sections so you know what you have done and what is left to do. Even if they are bad sections they aren’t getting blocked. If the bad sections aren’t being blocked than why would good sections all the sudden get blocked? So focus on bad tracks if focusing on good tracks isn’t producing anything. If anyone gets good enough at one element of the song they might barely need anything else. The other elements can be thrown into the cocktail carefully later to support what the drink is. If it’s a strong enough mix there will be no constipation of inspiration, but only a throwing up of a quality mix.


thanks for the advice on dealing with writer’s block, but I’m more looking for people to give their take on the card that was drawn.

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  • Try some chord inversions.

  • Insert tempo changes and half time/double time switch ups.

  • Write a melodic loop you like, rewrite the sequence in reverse and then record it and reverse it as an audio loop. Chop that loop and rearrange.

  • Change up your signal flow. Mic -> compressor -> vocoder -> aux delay -> returned to a mix channel with an analog filter on the insert -> aux delay. Rearrange.

  • Finish the song before you begin and keep going.

You could look at it less specifically relating to workflow and more the overall order of things you do in life.

For me it’s like I always “want” to play music when I “have time” but often if I fire up my gear based on that it’s very unproductive, or uninspired… Often there’s something else I maybe should be doing but I don’t have to necessarily right then so I’m at the lab instead, and can easily end up being uninspired and not getting much out of it. Other times when the time is right, all sorts of musical ideas flow out of me and it’s enjoyable and productive, and it happens easily… For me it seems there’s certain times where the creativity flows and there’s times where I can go play music but it’s just not flowing, and perhaps there’s some other thing in my life that I know needs some attention and I’d probably be better off doing that instead… Learning to recognize when I’m feeling it and the time is right, and when I just “want to” I think will be really good for me… Learning when to resist firing up the lab, haha…

So yeah, maybe look at the order of things that are important to be done in your life when you want to play music, and check in with yourself to see if music really should be the priority at that moment. The other things to focus on could also be emotionally related and not even physical activities, and they don’t have to be major life areas they could change throughout the day as life happens.

To sum up, maybe there’s other things in your life that music is put before and if you reorder how you put your energy towards them it will end up putting you in a better place to play music…


pull out the 90s records and just sit back and listen go from there


nice. this is similar to where I started going with it. Looking at the order of things completely unrelated to music

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I will try holistic way of interpreting this card. Like Open_Mike write, above, You can’t only related the sentence to your music production.

The music production is just a part of your life, not a part off your life. So first consider your whole life and then the part that music takes in it.
Order your whole life, find good balance, try to be in peace and music will take again it’s own place, naturaly, in it. Then you’ll be in order to think about the order in wich you work music.

If can help.


write melody first instead of last…

Swapping up the room or routing of equipment has been most inspiring for my creativity. Even just reading deeper into manuals and finding overlooked features can spark ideas.

Not so much a writers block for me, I have a tone of ideas. Just finding the right order to flesh them out has been the challenge.
I stoped working in bands almost a year ago. I played jazz for several years, then shoegaze just as long. Now, solo, I’m still trying to find the right way to do things on my own.
I have a basic order that’s kind of working but needed more sequencing power, so I’m hoping the recent purchase of the AK and A4mk1 will make life easier.

But, in a nutshell, I do everything on the Bass guitar first then translate that into:
-melody (Nord LA1 or Voyager),
-bass line (Subsequent37 and Minitaur) and
-rhythm (NordLA1 solo or Bass guitar solo)
-drums (SR16 is dead, so setting the A4 to do that)

Probably an odd order in which to go about it, but it’s kind of working out.

Is receiving all the money from the “amazing” ideas in my head first rather than never an acceptable response to changing the order of things?!