The list is long and sad. And these are maybe less than 5 percent of the disappointments. But important is if you are going through these disappointments, you don’t give up and just use these rejections or unfortunate indicants as lessons and start again, stronger. So, how do you stick with it when the “downs” start to pile up? I learned the hard way that you have to have a plan. The plan I came up with was this.
Don’t live for songwriting. I had to re-align my priorities. If songwriting is the one thing you are living for, things are going to get rough. I had to back up a little bit, re-establish my priorities and start living for the real important things. In my case, my family. Living for them put musical disappointments in perspective because at the end of the day I know there are more important things for me to live for.
Don’t let yourself get too high or too low. I made the mistake of getting too excited about every hold and banking on it before it got cut. That road was the express lane to depression. I learned to celebrate a cool hold with a cool beer and then move on to the next project and let the song on hold to go through its natural process and see where it goes. I didn’t spend the money before it came. Keeping the “highs” in perspective also helped keep the “lows” in perspective.
Concentrate on the songs you haven’t written yet. I write songs, demo them and then forget them for the most part. I’m trying to write a better song tomorrow than I wrote today, and that requires a lot of focus. The song from yesterday or last week doesn’t get any attention until I have tried to write a better one. That philosophy keeps me moving forward and not looking back.
I hope those ideas help if you have struggled with the “low” aspects of pursuing a musical dream. Keep living for something bigger than music. Keep yourself cantered – don’t get too high or too low. And look forward, not back.