Put The Butt in the Chair: The Real Cure For Writer’s Block

by Clay Mills
Oct 12, 2016

Publishers don’t give writer’s block vacations.

People often ask us how we fight “writer’s block”. Unfortunately, my publisher does not offer Writer’s Block Vacation Days. I’m expected to write, not make excuses. So, on days when I don’t FEEL like writing, what do I do? I put my butt in the chair and I write anyway. This past Friday, I was tired, stressed, and brain dead. I didn’t feel like writing.

The problem was that I had two writing appointments booked. One with two great writers. The other with a great writer and an artist. I knew I had to come up with something. So, I got to the office early. I picked up my guitar and tried an alternate tuning. Soon, I came up with a little lick that I thought was cool. When my first co-writer walked in, he said “I love that!”. He grabbed a guitar and started playing what I was playing. The other co-writer arrived and that groove became our song. Within an hour we had written a great song! The energy from that song carried me through the second co-write which also went quickly. So, on a day that I FELT like mailing it in or calling in sick and tired, I wrote two really good songs.

Half the battle is just showing up…

You never know what is going to come out of a writing session. After years of writing on command, I’ve learned that getting my butt in the chair is half the battle. There are books like Song Building to help you avoid writer’s block but it always comes down to the chair. So, if you get stuck. Show up the next day, put your butt in the chair, and write. That’s how you overcome writer’s block!!!

Write on!

Marty Dodson

Clay Mills

Clay Mills

Clay Mills is a 16-time ASCAP hit songwriter, producer, and performer. He is the co-founder of SongTown and has 2 Grammy nominations for “Beautiful Mess” by Diamond Rio and “Heaven Heartache” by Trisha Yearwood. Clay is also the co-author of Mastering Melody Writing and The Songwriter’s Guide To Mastering Co-writing.


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