Staying inspired while staying home

It’s what I miss most about pre-COVID life. Because I work from home, I have literally zero buffer between when I close my laptop, and when I have to jump back into “Dad Mode”. No time to decompress, listen to a podcast or even just stare out the streetcar window on a particularly tiring day at the office.

That said, I manage to sneak out for a 45 minute walk around the neighbourhood every night for a bit of exercise, but the personal time where I can sink into my Elektron gear is in particularly short supply these days. Good thing I just ordered an Octatrack I’ll have no time to play…at least until my little girl has a more regular napping schedule. :expressionless:

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This is something constantly on my mind too and it’s stressful. Pre COVID, there’s no chance I would have gotten back into desktop software or hardware, but all this time at home has lured me back in. In the back of my mind though, I know AT SOME POINT I have to go back to work, and I’m not about to bring in a laptop or M:C ( WHERE THE FUCK IS THAT BATTERY HANDLE :man_facepalming: ) - which means I gotta go back to iOS fully again (which is what I’ve been doing since 2011 pre-COVID). There will be no time for this stuff.

Bleh. Just bitching now sorry lol. But yeah. This sucks.

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Today I opened reaktor, closed it, moved my keyboard, moved it back, put on a wash, watched a basketball game, had two beers, went back to bed, 3 pm. So far a relatively productive saturday.


yeah it’s been an interesting past eleven months, as far as working on music goes. my issue has been that my wife and I are both working from home and are generally around the house most of the time. I used to mainly write music while home alone, primarily so I don’t feel self-conscious about possibly annoying the hell out of her (though she never complains about it) with the same four bar loop for hours on end. but… I’ve had to overcome that; accept that it’s OK to have others hear you working, and just turn the volume down. but until I got there, I did a lot of short/quick writing that would always end up in something I’d revisit days later, wouldn’t have interest in taking further, and erasing it entirely. basically most of the last year was this way. lots of lost ideas… now it’s freeing not to feel “forced” to work on music just because “oh wow I have the house to myself for a bit, I HAVE to work on music now!”

it sounds like some people (and the OP) don’t have a space where they can leave things set up and just turn it on and go. that’s huge. I’d say try and do this first, even if it means using less (or different) gear in a small corner of your place, working with headphones, etc…

I agree with @LaughingAnimal that getting new gear does help inspire ideas. that doesn’t have to mean MORE gear though. do a long-term trade with a friend, or someone on here. even if it’s just a guitar pedal, new stuff to change things up can spark ideas.

it’s also helpful to have “maintenance days” to not really work on music but work with your gear still. days where you don’t feel creative, necessarily. maybe that means a re-organizing process you’ve been putting off. or changing your setup to something that could improve your workflow or allow ideas that were previously difficult or unlikely to be explored. or even just write patches on a synth, store 'em and move on. come up with something crazy on a modular, to be sampled and explored later. re-organize your OT sample collection. download and sort through some new samples. update and explore a new OS on a machine, etc… lots of times I feel these “off days” inspire totally new ideas out of nowhere.

Will be watching here for ideas. When COVID first kicked off I wrote a mess of tracks and threw em up online. And then as the weeks dragged on I just got more and more… meh. And I haven’t written anything since last April.

During the summer just to keep busy I started working on some sample packs. But honestly, I’m in the same boat, just don’t really feel motivated to do anything, or even take out equipment or wire it up. If I even had the time (impossible with two kids that constantly demand attention and apparently cannot entertain themselves (like literally even right now, as I am typing this I am being hounded))

I listen to music l like and take note about the arrangement and sound design, ask myself how did they achieve this specific part of the track which i like, and how could i copy it. Then i try to come at least halfway near the effect. Reading a book about what you like could also be inspiring, get a mixing book - or an electronic music book - maybe buy the loopop book, i didnt read it but from my perspective - he is a walking manual, his stuff written will be also good i think.

Also build that room treatment ?

I draw inspiration from the work and creations of artists I admire. Listen to the words of these artists and compare how dissimilar they can be from your own.

I also find these times are really help. I’m doing something constructive but ‘giving myself permission’ not to create. For example, I just spent some time filing sysex presets for my Slim Phatty, which reminded me how great it sounds and stimulated some ideas.


I eventually got something done today! A quick acid techno track with the AR, OT and Behringer TD-3. Still not sure if the result is good, but it’s something. Acid techno is something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time but I’ve barely touched the TD-3 after getting it in December.
Maybe I should just program a bunch of 303 riffs so that I can use them as a starting point. The TD-3 is very light and portable so I could just grab it, chill on the couch or wherever and write patterns.

And thanks to everyone for their kind and supporting words as well as fresh perspectives.


I stopped trying of late, maybe put your all your stuff away and then wait till you get an urge rather than having a stare off with an OT.

Or try and escape to Brazil, Sweden or Florida perhaps…

I had started planning a new project intended for the dance floor and now find myself gravitating to something a little more personal and something more people might enjoy listening to at home.

Maybe you should make your home your dance floor :slight_smile:


Something that happened to me as I got older was I stopped being so hard on myself. I used to really beat myself up for not being creative. But it’s ok to have downtime. Box up the synths. Rearrange the house. Come up with a 5 year plan. Do some brainstorming and get it out, whatever it is. There’s always talk of mindfulness and meditation, but how does that look in practice? Not every moment has to be stuffed full of activity. And if you have frustrations around motivation, then treat yourself kind for a while. The right food, seeing some nature. Take a walk and listen to other peoples music. Demotivation is actually a blessing, your body or mind is saying no, take some pause. Reflect. And yeah Eno and those dudes have that hard discipline approach. If that’s you, go for it. But I enjoy staring out the window as much as I do creating music. I even enjoy other people’s music, a lot. Life is to be enjoyed and doesn’t always have to be forced. If you start to enjoy that space and freedom around you, maybe creativity will come


It hasn’t effected me at all. I’ve always made music from home that nobody ever heard :slight_smile:

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Funnily enough, for me it’s been exactly the oppsite. As my skills have developed, I more often feel like it’s a waste to not use them.

But I completely agree that just taking time to do doing nothing is good for you. That’s actually one of the good things I’ve found in remote work. I don’t need to act like I’m doing something all the time, because I can work intensely for an hour or two and then just do nothing for 30 minutes without anyone raising an eyebrow.

I actually experienced a mild burnout just before COVID hit and it led me to explore my perfectionism and harsh self-criticism. There are things in my past that I’m not proud of. After a traumatic event in my late teens, I ended up spending years in a drunken, stoned & medicated stupor, a lot of bad relationships and generally an unstable life.
While recovering from the burnout, it occured to me that I was punishing myself for my past choices by trying to be the perfect worker in my job, taking on more responsibility than I should, even performing tasks for others to ensure that they were done right. And I did it with pride, even though it was just another drug to lose myself into.


This is a great way to spark creativity and get to working on music. When you’re happy with some patterns you’ve made, use them with your other gear. Your brain will naturally be curious as to what these 303 lines will sound like within a larger production and push you back into music making.

Also, as @chiasticon and @Soop have stated, maintenace days are nice to give you a no pressure incentive to work with your gear. Update some firmware, write some patches, organize some spaghetti wire mess, clean your gear, etc… Just the fact that you’re working around the gear might naturally spur a moment to make some music (especially the writing patches one)

Don’t be hard on yourself for not being too productive, we are living through some trying times. It’s hard to know how to feel these days.

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Try and start a side project under a new name with a different style you’re not use too. Maybe something completely experimental? Put a EP on SoundCloud with this random music with new art, new name and new style.


thinking about this again, and on the subject of “off” or “maintenance” days… one of the benefits of having a lot of gear - or gear that’s flexible enough to save various states and jump between them - is that you can disrupt the state of the studio to work on something else, and not lose what you were previously working on. maybe you’re in the middle of a track for days and then one day, in the middle of it, you get time to work but don’t want to get into that track again… so you work on some synth patches or drum machine beats or synth sequences or sample management, etc… but regardless… when you’re doing such acts, you’re setting up the sounds of your machines to represent you right now, and thus making the studio in general closer and closer to a state where it’s representative of your current/recent mood, and therefore more likely to inspire you when you fire everything up and start tinkering with them. so when you finish that track, go back to what you did as an aside (or one before that, or that, etc…) and likely those machines are in a setting you’re going to be inspired by.

TL;DR: embrace the time with your machines, even if it seems like it’s not enough to make any “real” progress. it’ll pay off, eventually.

I was thinking of this just a moment ago while sitting on the bus with my Minilogue that I was bringing home from my friend’s place. I rarely do maintenance. I try to keep everything covered or boxed up when not in use to avoid dust, and if something breaks, unfortunately someone else needs to fix it because my skills are very limited.
But now I’m actually looking forward to cleaning the Minilogue, because I haven’t had it at home for over three years. And after it’s all shiny and spotless, I’m going to back up our duo project presets and then erase everything from the device. It’s a fresh start.