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  • Writer's pictureRandy McGravey

Getting Burned Out Writing Production Music?

It happens to the best of us: we write a lot of music all the time and eventually get tired of doing the same things over and over. I know the feeling, and it hit me recently. Writing 100+ tracks per year can be monotonous and dull if you aren't constantly inspired.

I received a brief from a library a few weeks ago. It was for a style of music that I have done many times (summery acoustic, happy stuff). When it came time to approach it on my to-do list I started 2 tracks, one with guitar and one with ukulele. After messing with them each for 2 days I realized that I wasn't going to be finishing them. It felt like I had done those styles to death, especially considering the reference tracks. The genuine emotion wasn't there. I tried melodies with several different instruments, and although they matched the brief, I really wasn't excited or "feeling it". These tracks will now sit on the shelf, or I may just forget about them.

This brief was sent to me by a library that has been just ok for me. Had it been from one of my better performing libraries I would have put more time into it and maybe started some more tracks. Considering the fact that I have some other similar tracks with this library (with no placements that I know of) I decided to just cast it aside and focus on my working albums.

Getting tired of writing is something that is bound to happen, and it's ok. Everyone says we need to constantly write every day to be successful, but every type of job needs a break. Below are some things you can do to overcome the burn out.

  • Take a Break! - A good vacation (1 week or so) from writing music can be refreshing. Sometimes we just need to step away from it in order to recharge the batteries. You might come back with more natural ideas and more enthusiasm.

  • Work on Something Else - If you're working on a particular project and you aren't feeling it, try something else. You can always come back to it (unless it is a brief with a tight deadline). I like to keep a working list of potential albums to write on my computer. When I don't know what to do, I'll consult the list or brainstorm new ideas and add them to the list.

  • Collaborate with Others - Collaboration is a great way to step out of your comfort zone, and to work on styles that you otherwise wouldn't be able to do. I work with a variety of co-writers, each with their own strengths that are different than mine. Some of my coolest tracks have been with other musicians.

  • Listen to New Music - Check out some current (or old) music to get some fresh ideas. Look at some libraries that you are interested in joining, and listen to what makes their music special. Listen to the radio. You might just get a fresh perspective or philosophy on how to write.

  • Just Play Your Instrument - Forget the idea of needing to write something, literally just pick up your instrument and mess around or practice. They are "toys" after all right? Playing around is a good way to stumble upon ideas. Learn your favorite songs, try new techniques. Practicing is how we get better. It never hurts to get better, and come back later and write something.

There we have it. If you are getting tired of the whole song and dance, you are not alone. Get creative with how you deal with it. Creativity is the most important aspect of this business and music in general. The burn out will pass and you will hopefully come back even stronger!

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