How to stay creative when the pressure is on

Blog by Musicians' Union under Artist Managers, Creative & Branding, Music Publishing, Recording & Production

The creative process can be a mystery, and starting a new project can feel daunting. But inspiration is always just a thought or feeling away. It’s all about learning how to channel that first little flicker into something real and seeing it through to the end. 

First flickers
When it comes to writing, anything can serve as inspiration: a feeling, a thought, nature, friends... Early influences can be an ongoing inspiration, something to revisit again and again. Major life changes like relationship breakdowns have always given rise to material for music writing. Overheard remarks can also be an interesting source of new ideas. If you’re still not feeling it, why not try meditation, journaling or free association techniques to open mental and emotional space for inspiration? Inspiration really can come from anywhere. 

Play around
Try an instrument you don’t normally play. This will force you to think about your music in a whole new way. A new environment could give you a boost. As could spending time with other creative people, especially other musicians whose creativity you admire or with whom you work well. Improvise with as many different musicians as possible. Ultimately, improvising is all about risk-taking, and some people find this easier than others. Not only can you learn and be inspired by musicians around you, it can boost your own confidence as well. If improvising is not in your skillset, it’s never too late to try. 

Reward yourself
If you’re energised and on fire with an idea, just keep working at it. Make up a reward system for yourself – promise yourself a treat when you feel like you’ve achieved something. The reverse is also true: don’t carry on if you’re banging your head against a brick wall. If it isn’t working, take a break and do something physical: walk or go for a run. When you release physical tension your body relaxes and inspiration is more likely to come.

Create a timeframe
Deadlines can also drive you, so make one up if you don’t have one and stick to it. Focus on the finished product; feel how satisfied you will be when it is finished. Directing your mind to a particular goal can help. 

Still feeling stuck? 
Put our advice to the test with an MU networking session, where you can connect with other musicians. Find the next event near you via

Or why not try one of our free workshops or online courses with FEU Training? They are free for MU members. Register via


The Musicians Union offer advice on staying creative when under pressure


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