For many people, the most difficult part of creating music is starting a song. This is completely understandable, as it is applicable to anything in life. The hardest part of any craft or skill is the blank canvas that patiently waits for you to create the artwork upon it.
Below, you will find some of the main techniques I use in my own personal creative process. Some of these ideas may not be perfect for you, but let your mind wander, and you'll find ways to modify them so that they work for you.
1. Clear Your Schedule
We all have lives outside of music. This makes it very easy for us to "not have the time" to produce or create. Don't fool yourself--there is always time. You simply have to make it a priority. So look at your calendar, find a day where you truly have no plans, and commit yourself entirely to making music on that day. You may be tempted to go out and party with your friends or just kick-back for a little while, but no great achievements ever came from celebrating early. Give yourself a reason to celebrate, and stay focused.
2. Destroy All Distractions
Who knows how many incredible musical creations have prevented by having access to the internet or receiving a text message from the girl you have a crush on? Do not let your creative potential be defeated by your social life. When you wake up on your scheduled day to create music, turn off your wi-fi, shut off your phone, and lose yourself in the music. If you need to reference something from the internet, set a 5-10 minute timer; otherwise, you'll find yourself looking at videos of turtles having sex or someone playing a didgeridoo with their butt. The internet is full of distractions. Don't get lost in there.
3. Energize Your Mind
Very few people have the ability to sit down and start creating music immediately. The problem is that most up-and-coming producers are unaware of this, which can lead to some frustration. For some people, all they need is a little boost. There are many ways to perk up your mental awareness, but some of my favorite are meditation, energy drinks, coffee, exercise, morning jogs, or deep breath exercises. While you're making preparations, let your creative mind wander and have fun. The best ideas usually come from no where. Personally, I would recommend not eating anything heavy, as this will release sleep-inducing chemicals in your brain.
4. Don't Think, Don't Try, Just Do
One of the biggest flaws in many people's creative process is their fear of creating something that isn't good. As a result, they meticulously select sounds and melodies and constantly compare them to what's happening now. This is the worst way to make music. The whole point of making music is to have fun. When you are having fun, you don't think, and you don't try... You just do. Let your mind do whatever it wants, step back, and be a witness to your creative potential. You cannot govern every single musical decision. When it comes down to finalizing and cleaning up your track, that is when it's good to kick into your mixing and mastering mode. However, when you are still writing in the beginning stages, it's best to not overanalyze every decision. Let every single idea you have flow out, and you will be astounded by your own abilities.
5. Do It For The Love
If you started creating dance music because you wanted the lifestyle, the fame, and the money, you are setting yourself up for a massive disappointment. Very few people become successful with this mindset. The people who do succeed with this mindset don't earn respect from their peers. When you sit in front of your computer and are about to create, remember why you are doing it. Do it with passion, or don't do it at all.
Written by David Lee Crow AKA Ghastly! (OWSLA, Dim Mak, Rottun)
Cover photo credit: Ambiance Studios