One day, in the midst of a lot of frustration and fear, it hit me. I was trying to become one of the best in the world at a whole long list of things that I was not even average at. If you put me in any group of professional songwriters in the industry at that time, I would have been in the lower half in regard to my guitar playing, my vocals or my ability to make my own demos. In other words, I was wasting most of my time. I realized that day that I needed to figure out what I was best at and to try to become one of the best at that one only. At least for the time being. When I did an honest self evaluation, I realized that I was already better than average at lyrics writing and at coming up with interesting ideas. People I was working with were saying the way I look at things is different than usual, and I must use that in my writing. So, I began spending 90% of my time on those two things. I still dabbled in the other areas, but I spent the huge majority of my time coming up with idea and with learning to write better lyrics.
Guess what happened? I found a niche. I began to develop a reputation for being really good in those two areas. The phone began to ring. Songs started to be put on hold. My writing improved dramatically. I purposely set out to find co-writers that were better guitar players and singers than I was. As a side benefit, I began to enjoy writing more than ever. I had found my place. I was doing what I was good at. And it was working.
I encourage everyone to take an honest look in the mirror. What are you really good at? In what area of writing are you in the upper half already? Spend your time there. If you can hone one skill and become world class at that – you’ve got a shot! None of the world class writers I work with are world class in every area. They all have strengths and weaknesses. But what made them being such a big deal in the industry is that they found their own place and then they found the right team to work with. If you can identify yours and find people to help fill in where you are weak, you can find your place as well.