THE JOY IN THE JOURNEY
I find my joy in the everyday process of creating songs. As I thought about it, I realized that the reason I still get a huge amount of satisfaction from songwriting and producing music is that I find my joy in the everyday process of creating, more than being focused on getting a cut and knowing how much money each song would generate for me. Just the writing itself gives me a joy that no amount of money can buy it. In the beginning, I had given control of my happiness to other people. The artists who did or didn’t cut my songs. The A&R people that I had to get past to get a cut. Publishers, producers, they all held my happiness in their hands. If they said “Yes” to my song, I was happy. If they said “No”, I was sad. I was literally living, not to write, not to be happy, but just to satisfy them and get the “yes” from them and become happy. That plan led to many, many sad days. There are going to be much more “no” days than “yes” days for anyone in the music business. Letting my success determine my happiness and my joy for writing was ruining songwriting for me. I felt a crushing pressure to write a hit every day. There’s no better way to crush your creativity. Trust me. I’ve tried lots of them. I reached a breaking point one day where I didn’t know if I could keep on dealing with the stress and pressure, I was putting on myself. I took a walk by myself and thought through my options. And, I realized what was going on. I decided to take my happiness back and just keep writing because that was what actually could make me happy and until that moment, I didn’t really know it.
Focus on what you can control. There are not many things I can control in the music business. I can control who I am in a room with each day. I started scheduling only people that I enjoyed working with. I decided that I was going to enjoy every day that I got to write a song, even if nothing ever happened with it. Once I began to look at it that way, I started enjoying writing again and the pressure lifted. I got my happiness back. And, I started getting cuts. I find my joy in being in a writing room with a creative person that makes me smile while a song is being born. At the end of each day, I’ve helped to create something that didn’t exist before, and that’s pretty cool. If people don’t like it, that’s ok. If they do, that’s great. I’m good either way. If I want to just live for making people happy, I have to remember there are 7 billion of them out there and so far no one in the history managed to get them all happy together. I don’t need to try to be the hero when I know it will not work. But what I can control and to make it work is to write better songs each day and enjoy those little victories and celebrate them each day with a little smile and a beer. That, in my opinion, is how you continue to enjoy songwriting. There’s joy in the journey.
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