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Songwriting in Self-Isolation

7 Activities to stay sane and keep songwriting during self-isolation... the world just went sideways but you can improve and thrive instead of just surviving
Songwriting in Self-Isolation - 7 activities to keep you sane and happy while self-isolating

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7 Activities to Stay Sane During Self-Isolation

The whole world went sideways, everything we knew a month ago is now in question!

You have a choice. You can use this time to develop your musical skills and practice resilience… or you can curl up in a ball and hide until it’s over. 

I choose to thrive not “just survive”!

In this article, we’ll review 7 activities that will keep you sane & building your songwriting skills while you’re self-isolating.

Please leave a comment at the end of the article: What are your best tips for staying sane and productive during self-isolation?

Note: This article assumes you are self-isolating in a safe place with clean water, food and shelter. Your survival needs take priority over “wants” like songwriting, movie streaming or cable television. Stay safe, stay healthy and wash your hands carefully!

1. Write Songs in Self-Isolation

Write songs about your experiences. Write about the craziness and fragility you feel with each new development. Write about your experiences as things you thought were permanent suddenly change. Use your imagination to write about the experiences of other people.

Explore the emotions you’re feeling and communicate them to listeners.

If you’re having trouble framing your thoughts and translating them into songs, you can learn:

How to Write a Song Chorus!

Click and enter your name and email address and I’ll send it to your inbox!

2. Create a New Daily Routine while You’re in Self-Isolation

Follow a daily routine… it won’t be the same as before the troubles, but it will help you stay grounded and create a sense of normalcy. I don’t mean hanging out in your pajamas until suppertime…

  • Get up and follow a “normal” wake up routine, including showering
  • Review your gratitude list
  • Eat healthy food
  • Hydrate properly
  • Do something fun
  • Make music
  • Read 
  • Do something new and different
  • Limit your screen time… stay in touch with the world but don’t get sucked into 24 hour virus updates and social media 

I’ve been picking a project a day to keep busy… as long as I do something “new” or complete a small project I feel productive.

If you’re having trouble setting up a routine, or if you can’t keep up your creative activities you need to click this link and enter your email address so I can send you Daily Songwriting… create productive habits so you stay creative!

Get Daily Songwriting

3. Exercise during Self-Isolation

Move your body! Go out if you can, walk, run, get into the wilderness if you can get there. If the walls feel like they’re closing in, get outside of your walls!

Start a home workout routine if it’s not safe, practical or you’re not allowed to go outside. Try yoga, Pilates or strength training. If you aren’t sure what to do, find something interesting on YouTube and try it out. If you don’t like a workout try another… there’s no right or wrong, just what works for you. Start easy and build up gradually.

If you’re having difficulty getting to nature or need to calm your mind, watch this video. I shot it last week before all parks, trails and playgrounds were closed… 

Start here if you don’t have a home workout plan yet:

Gaiam on YouTube

Chill Your Mind With This Morning Meditation with Rodney Yee

4. Make Music while Self-Isolating

You spent all this time learning how to make music, put it to use so you come out of this stronger than you went in. Practice your instrument, practice your vocal technique, write songs, learn new songs, analyze songs… lose yourself in the music for a while!

Improve your songwriting by studying the songs you love by using reference tracks… don’t ask the internet, find your own answers!

5. Read during Self-Isolation

Don’t get lost watching end of the world movies… nobody saw this scenario!

Reading takes more imagination than watching video. Take some time to read books, either old-school paper or on your device. Use this opportunity to read non-fiction books about topics that interest you. Read fiction to expand your imagination and as songwriting inspiration.

  • Go through your bookshelves and choose a few books you’ve been meaning to read.
  • Fire up your Kindle app and pick out a new book to read.
  • Binge watch songwriting videos from EpicSongWriting… it’s sort of like reading, right?
Songs add sparkle - pink rose covered in dew

6. Clean Up Your Space during Self-Isolation

I don’t mean sterilize everything, although I feel I should everytime I go outside… remember olden times when we were afraid of dirt!

Organize your living and working space. Clean out your storage closet, basement, attic or garage.

Take an hour and clean up your music space, or go through your closet and toss clothes that don’t fit. Pitch out old or broken music gear, or set it aside to fix it later. Find an old song you aren’t happy with and fix it!

If you’ve ever written a song and been disappointed with how it turned out… learn how to fix a bad song and improve it instead of trashing it!

7. Connect With Others Despite Self-Isolating

Take time to connect with other people. Check on your neighbours and make sure they are okay.

Check in with those you’re isolating with, your immediate family. Work together, play together, laugh together! Dig out board games and find ways to spend time together without being attached to electronic devices.

Catch up with friends and family that are far away… check in virtually, use the phone, Skype or FaceTime.

Most importantly, be kind to others… 

Especially the people who are still working to keep our society from falling apart… the grocery workers, truckers, utility and public works employees that are keeping the electricity, water and internet functioning.  

Explain that stress thing you keep talking about again... Border collie sleeping

BONUS: Work Through Your “To Do List”

What have you been procrastinating?

Is it time to…

  • Restring your guitar
  • Put a binder of your original songs together
  • Update your YouTube channel
  • Record some of your songs in your home studio
  • Learn something new
  • Enrol in an online course

What have you been putting off?

Now… don’t make a huge list and then stare at it. 

Pick one item on your list and break it into smaller steps.

For example: to put a binder of your songs together… 

  • Start with a list of your songs.
  • Then print out the ones you’ve already typed up
  • Then select the most important ones to type up.
  • Put them in order from your most favourite first
  • Then start typing up new songs

Bonus Articles to Keep Your Busy While Self-Isolating:

Leave a comment to help other songwriters:

What are your best tips for staying sane and productive during self-isolation… how do you manage it?

Trevor Dimoff

Trevor Dimoff

Trevor Dimoff has taught, played and written music professionally for the last 25+ years.
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