Defeating Writer's Block with Chance and Randomness

Defeating Writer's Block with Chance and Randomness
Pair of dice

A technique that can defeat writer's block and help spark creativity is using chance and randomness to spark ideas. This takes the pressure off having to come up with something from scratch and can lead you down creative paths you may not have otherwise explored.

There are a few ways to bring chance and randomness into your songwriting process:

  • Open a dictionary or encyclopedia or use Wiki Roulette to generate a random wikipedia page and choose a word or phrase that jumps out at you. Use this as your title, theme, or starting lyric.
  • Pick a novel off your shelf, open a page, and use a phrase as your first line. Or use the last sentence on the page, or a word that catches your eye.
  • Cut out words and phrases from magazines and newspapers, mix them up and pull out a few pieces at random. Try to make them work together in a song lyric. This technique was famously used by David Bowie.
  • Oblique strategies - these were originally a set of 100 cards created by music producer Brian Eno, each containing a different instruction designed to reset your conventional thinking when in a creative situation. Here is a webpage that recreates the original set of cards.
  • Use an AI chatbot to generate titles or song concepts. There are also other websites that will generate everything from colours, to food, to fictional places.
  • Put your streaming app or music collection on shuffle and use the title or a lyric from the first song that plays as your jumping-off point.

Try not to overthink any of this, just start writing and see where these suggestions take you.

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