A career in songwriting is not for the faint of heart or the easily discouraged. In fact, it almost feels like the music business is designed to thin the proverbial herd with its delightful mixture of unpredictability and disappointment. I do believe, however, that it’s up to us as songwriters to control what we can and keep moving forward. This often takes the form of follow-through. Where others might get frustrated, those of us with a plan to complete what we’ve started can consolidate our gains. In an earlier piece you can view here, I wrote about a variety of ways that follow-through pays off and here are a few more to keep you motivated and taking care of business.
You’ll get new collaborations and contacts
If you’ve ever gone to an open mic, writer’s night, music conference or any one of a number of places where songwriters meet up, you’ve undoubtedly exchanged contact information with the people you’ve met with the vague intention of reconnecting at some point. While it can feel a bit daunting to reach out once the excitement of the event has subsided, following through with an email, text message or phone call could be the difference between nothing happening or brand new collaborations and friendships. I understand the temptation to avoid putting yourself out there but even this little step outside of your comfort zone could yield career-changing results.
You’ll make your own opportunities
A classic example of the difference between success and failure is how you, as a songwriter, respond to a current lack of opportunity. You could, for instance, notice that your town doesn’t have a songwriting organization or writer’s night and leave it at that. No one will blame you since they won’t know what could have been. The other - and more productive - option would be to roll up your sleeves and start a songwriting organization or writer’s night where you are. Following through by creating opportunity where none currently exists is the hallmark of successful people in any line of work especially in the arts.
You’ll keep learning and growing
It’s one thing to have a shelf full of songwriting books or a subscription to a series of online songwriting classes. It’s another thing all together to actually read and finish those books or take the course to completion. Read the book, take the course, do the exercises, and make them a part of your routine. You don’t have to do it all at once. In fact, I’d highly recommend just doing a little bit every day instead of making some heroic effort over a weekend or vacation. Make learning and growing a habit and when you look back in a year or two, the results will be astounding.
Follow through doesn’t have to be a burden. In fact, it should be manageable and even fun so that you’ll do it. One of my favorite expressions is “eat the elephant one bite at a time.” Break down your songwriting and music business efforts into bite-sized pieces and keep making slow and steady progress. You’ll get there.
Cliff Goldmacher is a GRAMMY-recognized songwriter, music producer and educator with recording studios in Nashville, TN and Sonoma, CA. Through his studios, Cliff provides songwriters outside of Nashville with virtual, live access to Nashville’s best session musicians and demo singers for their songwriting demos, find out more. Download Cliff’s FREE tip sheet “A Dozen Quick Fixes To Instantly Improve Your Songs.”