Fighting The Blank Page Syndrome

Sometimes it makes you want to run a mile! To be creative on demand is not all guns and roses. Everybody knows the situation when you are sitting in front of a white sheet of paper trying to find the beginning and the right idea. Have you ever experienced yourself in such a situation when the dazzling idea is missing? Today we want to show you how you can manage free yourself from the Blank Page Syndrome. We ask a lot of composers, including our lead composer Tilman Sillescu, have sifted through their feedback and assembled some tips and tricks for you guys how you can find the right beginning and the right workflow for your next project. Our composers want to stand by your side in implementation of your projects and support you with their experience. Take a look at their tips and tricks and find the approach that fits your style and needs.

Inspiration is a term that is not always easy to grasp. It is more than just feeling the right atmosphere. Inspiration releases a pulse and fans the flame in you to arouse enthusiasm to master any difficult task. But how can you get the right inspiration? Don´t worry – if you are a freelancer, permanently employed, study at university or a hobby musician – these tips will help you get into flow as quickly as possible.


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1. Stimulate your senses

One of the most important sources of inspiration are pictures. The impression of a picture can stir grand emotions and let you plunge into a world of experience. Only the coloring of a picture can let you discern the atmosphere. Sometimes it can help just to google some pictures which fit to the mood. If you have to compose music for a game, trailer or something similar is it important to ask your client for screenshots and video sequences to get the right feeling. Pictures draw associations and tell a story – you just have to “listen” to them. Some people also get inspired by their other senses – scents, touch or taste can also trigger new ideas.


2. Let the air in

As strange as it might sound – get inspired by accident. Take an aware time out of your composition and do something different. While tidying up your room or go on a walk in a park the ideas will sneak up from behind and your composition will appear clearer. A caveat to this point: you need to think deeply and intensely for some time about the issue at hand, before this trick works. Otherwise you are straight up avoiding getting to work. Don’t do that. Get to work and then, when you need it, take a break and not think about the project.


3. Practice awareness

It is important to brighten your perception. To see or hear something aware can bite inspiration. How often do you speed into the city? What do you recognize? Are you inspired? Hem, yes … we hope you know what we mean. Look out and take in your environment. This is a practice. Do it wherever you are, whenever you can. Meditation helps some people to heighten their experience of presence.


4. Good artists borrow, great artists “steal”

Film soundtracks which cover the same topic can also be a good inspirational source. But be careful – you only should get a first impression and not to copy parts of the soundtrack music. Maybe you´ve got some paragons and you really like their style of composing. Lock horns with them or try to create an entirely new style. It is important to be self-confident and trust in your own skills. Soundtracks from the dark age for example also tell stories about that time. Try to feel the dark age emotionally and maybe you´ve got the chance to visit an old building and feel the friable stonewalls.


5. Dream effectively

Dreams relocate you in a world that will never exist on earth. Utilize the twilight state when you wake up or when you recall your day in falling asleep. A little notebook on your nightstand will help you to directly note down your ideas.


6. Listen to nature and be enchanted

In natural surroundings you can see and listen to many different things. If rustling leaves, the blue sky above your head or the chirp of the birds – the nature holds many sources of inspiration for you to get the right impulse.


7. Get offline

When you are sitting in front of your computer, time flies and you haven´t the chance to go out because the track has to be done until tomorrow – turn off the computer and try to feel the situation mentally. The more you plunge into the situation emotionally the right idea will come faster into your mind.


8. Get physical

If you can’t think of anything, first off: don’t worry. Worrying will cause you to think more about what you can’t do and then you will panic. Do something physical, like go for a run, take up martial arts or have a cold shower. Changing your physiology will change your mental state of mind really quickly.


9. Just start

This obviously sounds very heartless, but hear us out: Take the sheet music of any musician you like. Start copying the music. Don’t think, just write down the notes you see on the sheet into your blank page. Or copy the MIDIs into an empty MIDI file, depending on how you work. Just do that until an idea gets prompted. Obviously, you shouldn’t hand in plagiarized work and steal other composers’ mental property. But getting started as if you were making music triggers the mind to come up with ideas after a while. Sometimes it is hard to be creative on point especially when you have to compose a track and you are pressed for time. Contain yourself to start and use your first idea as a catalyzer to break a deadlock and not to choke in self-doubts.


10.Empathize with your client

When you are at the beginning of your musical growth – sometimes it can happen that you slip in things which you pay attention at that time into your composition. That will be helpful for your personal learning effect but it can also go down the drain when you present it to your client. It is important to project the client´s thoughts, wishes and expectations. That´s not always easy to handle and constitutes the biggest development leeway of a young composer.


11. Create Mock-Ups

Sample libraries will help you to create meaningful assists. Virtual instruments can inspire you while composing and sometimes a patch last out to give birth to a new and fascinating idea that you can elaborate more and more. It is advisable to first think of an instrument collection that you would love to include in your composition. Not every sample library is useful and inspiring – save your money to invest in really good and high-quality sample libraries. Rummage in some loops and phrases to extend your personal musician horizon. With the help of the loops you virtually fetch a musician in your session who added a new facet to your track.


Give the tips and tricks a chance and try them out. You will be surprised what can give you the right inspiration and evoke sounds in your mind. Our experienced composers also use some of these tricks to reach the best outcome. Maybe not every tip and trick will help you to find the right idea, but we are sure from this variety of choice you will find the best one that works for you to optimize your approach. Which one works for you? Have you got any ways to make the blank page history for yourself? Share this with a creative you know, who will profit from these tips.

Happy composing!


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