If you’re anything like me…

  • Perfectionism (vocally, or production-wise)
  • Too many ideas (which one to work on, first?)
  • Too many plugins / sounds to choose from (too many options.)

It isn’t a question of motivation, so much as the top three roadblocks. So, how to overcome it? Here’s what I’m going to try… if you find this might help you, please leave a comment.

Too many choices / sounds / options? Use Templates!

Set up a Template in your main DAW (mine is Reaper 5 or Reaper 6). This Template will have 8 tracks to start:

  1. Acoustic Guitar / Mic (for laying down a basic acoustic track, or acoustic/vocal scratch track, since most songs start this way).
  2. Mic / Lead Vocal (if you want more track separation, and want track 1 to ONLY be the acoustic)
  3. Synth or Piano plugin (for keyboard ideas). BASIC GRAND or UPRIGHT PIANO sound… nothing fancy, synthy, or weird… keep a BASIC keyboard sound. You can also use a Rhodes or Wurly sound, which is fantastic and inspiring for songwriting.
  4. Mic/Harmony Vocal (for any vocal harmony or countermelody ideas)
  5. Basic drumset plugin (such as EZ Drummer 2, or Superior Drummer 3, or if you’re looking for a great free drum plugin, try MT Power Drumkit! Or Steven Slate Drums 5, which I think is also free). You need a beat for most songs.. and these things give you a lot of options.
  6. Electric guitar track (your pedalboard, multi-fx pedal, etc, just going direct into your audio interface). Keep the patch the SAME… maybe a vintage tube amp sound… slight overdrive when you dig in, and clean when you play lightly)
  7. Loop Track 1 (drop in a loop from your loop collection / Splice / sounds.com, etc and MAKE A SONG FROM IT!
  8. Loop Track 2 (to compliment Loop 1 and the rest of your ideas)

8 Tracks, and strict limitations. Don’t waver from it. Just write. Write. Write!

Perfectionism

Seriously. Just MAKE SOMETHING. RELEASE SOMETHING!! It’s you. It’s you and only you. Stop trying to be friggin’ Billie Eilish or Finneas. We are who we are. Just MAKE something. Chances are, your voice/singing is just fine, and your ideas are pretty great. LAY IT DOWN and PUT IT OUT.

Too many unfinished ideas (years of ideas, in folders on your hard drive)

Go to a randomizer website such as this: https://randomwordgenerator.com/letter.php 

Enter “26” in the field… and generate. Whatever letter is at the top of the list, is the song / folder you’re going to work on, first. Let’s say you have 400 folders and each is called some random title, like “DUMB IDEA 1” or “SHORT IDEA 5″… if you randomize stuff and get D first, then you choose DUMB IDEA 1. If you randomize and none of the letters you randomize match your folder names, keep going until something does. And just WORK ON IT.

If you don’t want to use the randomizer… go through your folders IN ORDER, and work on the first friggin’ one in the list. Maybe the folder is called “2013 SONG IDEA in D major”– work on it. Maybe your first folder alphabetically is called “THIS SONG SUCKS 1”.. great. Work on it. And work on the other “THIS SONG SUCKS 2 through 77”, one-by-one. No more excuses.

Stop friggin’ procrastinating!!! (I’m yelling at myself here, too).

Here’s some additional good tips from YouTube:

 

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