One of the toughest things to do as a musician and guitar player is to change your practice or writing habits so that you continue stretching and growing. Many people stay stuck in their boxes, writing songs using the same drab chords, same strumming patterns and the list goes on. I see it all of the time. Even the pro artists that come to me as clients get stuck in their same old patterns. In order to continuously progress, sometimes we need to step out of our comfort zone and explore ideas that we may know, but may not use simply because we’re not used to using them.
Here are some ideas you can apply right away to your practicing. Jot down some ideas that you want to work on, some things that would enhance your playing that you are not currently using. Some examples may be triad inversions, new rhythms, modes, or some chord harmony ideas like using a parallel minor. For the next couple of days, don’t allow yourself to play anything that you’ve been overusing. Don’t run your old habits. Take a simple idea like a I, vi, IV, V progression and put it in a key you usually don’t use. Then see how many ways you can make that simple progression stand out by using triad inversions, new chord voicings or modal harmony, and add a new strumming pattern or play it as a riff instead of a strumming pattern. Only do things that are not things you would typically play. Explore as many new things as you can. Have fun with it!