On the heels of this Thanksgiving, I thought I would take a moment to tell you (and myself, while I’m at it) a few of the things we have to be thankful for as songwriters. Songwriting is the kind of pursuit that often takes place in a vacuum with little or no encouragement and is, by its very nature, solitary. Also, given that only the tiniest percentage of the songs we write ever get to see the light of day by getting cut, it’s easy to get frustrated. The risk is that we tend to forget what a gift being a songwriter actually is. Here are a few reminders.
1. You’ve got a way to express yourself. In the course of living our day-to-day lives, we are subjected to an unpredictable mixture of elation and sadness. No matter what, this is a lot to handle, but having the ability to write about it is a huge advantage. Putting your thoughts in a song that will not only help you but also those who hear it is a wonderful, constructive way of processing life. Without the ability to write songs, you might never have the luxury of this kind of perspective.
2. You’ve got something you’re passionate about. Many people go through their entire lives without finding something that truly moves them. You’ve got a passion. While your passion for songwriting will make you crazy and plunge you into the depths of despair, it will also bring you great joy and drive you to efforts that you never imagined yourself capable of. This kind of growth can only come from true, heartfelt dedication. Never take this for granted. Being passionate about your songwriting is its own reward. This is not to say that you shouldn’t strive for any and all successes that are out there. However, it’s important to remember every once in a while that you’re lucky to have found something in this world that is so important to you.
3. You’re on a journey. Whether it’s the first time you write a whole song or winning a Grammy, every step of your journey as a songwriter should be appreciated. You will only have one first time to see someone listen to something you’ve written and cry. Don’t forget to stop and enjoy each event no matter how small. The danger in putting too much significance on the end game of financial success is that you’ll miss all the incredible moments along the way.
We all know how difficult, frustrating and even scary songwriting can be. Being thankful for all of the good it brings us can help keep things in perspective. Personally, I’m thankful for my high-school piano teacher who nonchalantly asked for the impossible at the end of one of our lessons: “For next week, I’d like you to write a song.”
Cliff Goldmacher is a songwriter, producer, session musician, engineer, author and owner of recording studios in Nashville, TN and Sonoma, CA. Cliff’s site, http://www.EducatedSongwriter.com, is full of resources for the aspiring songwriter and his company, http://www.NashvilleStudioLive.com, provides songwriters outside of Nashville with virtual access to Nashville’s best session musicians and singers for their songwriting demos.
You can download a FREE sample of Cliff’s eBook “The Songwriter’s Guide To Recording Professional Demos” by going to http://www.EducatedSongwriter.com/ebook.