This time, I went in with a more realistic approach. I said “I know that I can do this, but I think setting a time limit on it stifles my creativity and kills my chances. Can I just go into this knowing I will make it work somehow, sometime?” I believed I could do it. This time, without having a specific plan to unnecessarily pressure myself, I felt freer and more creative. I wrote better. I had things start to happen. And I did make it work, in case you were wondering.
So, what is the songwriter’s Achilles heel? Patience. Back then, I had none. I wanted things to happen now and when they didn’t, I freaked out. When I was having an idea, without thinking about it I was just jumping into it and trying my best to make it work and when it wasn’t, I used to get very disappointed and lose motivation. As time went by, I realized how foolish and unrealistic my original plan had been. If I had written a hit song the first day of that plan, demoed it several weeks later and had it cut immediately. If that demo had gotten into the right hands and been cut the following month. If the record label had released it three months later as a single. If it flew up the charts to #1. Then – I might have gotten a big cheque before the 2 years was over. Maybe. If every one of those things had happened as fast as possible, then I might have succeeded in 2 years. But, all of those things never happen that way. So, I had to learn the patience, kind of a hard way. So, I had to change my mindset and start over and I had to set realistic expectations. I had to stop, breathe and trust that I could do this, but I couldn’t do it on my own time schedule. Too many variables are out of my control.
A lack of patience can kill your chances. It can leave you angry and bitter. It can destroy your creativity. Don’t let that happen to you. Here are some things I have learned about developing patience:
To don’t set unrealistic time limits on success that will not happen. You can’t control all of that. And the only thing it will being to you is huge disappointment and possibly making you want to give up or just keep questioning your own abilities instead of questioning your way of setting your “plan” while just saying “I want to achieve this by that time” is not really considered as a plan. It’s just a useless and empty time limit which will not work and will not bring you anything else than losing your hopes. If you want to set a time limit for yourself, set it as a timeline which not just going straight to the point but it will have marks in between and checkpoint you have to fulfill and these are like tiny reminders for you showing that you are going somewhere.
Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. This a mistake I did myself at the beginning of my songwriting career that I had put all the eggs in one basket and tried to protect that basket with all of my life. Now when I look at it, I was extremely lucky that I survived it but it doesn’t mean everyone will be that lucky. If I can go back in time, I will not do the same thing because I wouldn’t know what the outcome will be. Spread your chances into different project and work on them at the same time frame with a very proper schedule. If you do so, one cut gained or lost won’t make or break you.
Celebrate and enjoy every small success, even if it doesn’t make you money. Success in this industry is not necessarily just about money. Sometimes you might get a hold on a song that just bring you a lot of new opportunities. Sometimes you might attend some event and meet some people that in future they change the direction of your life – that is what happened to myself and many others I know in the industry. Success can be your song getting on the radio for the first time – or for some people like me, every single time a new song of mine gets on radio – or when you enter to the charts. The income generated by these will come to you in about two years from the time it happens, but it doesn’t mean that you should wait for the cheque and then celebrate. All these celebrations are little reminders to you that your music career is moving forward, and they will motivate you to continue stronger.
Settle in for the long haul. If you want it and you are willing to work hard enough to make it happen, then you can do this. It may take a very long time, but you can do it. There is no such thing as impossible in music business. It’s all about how bad you want it and how hard you work for it. Now, don’t misunderstand wanting it badly with being desperate. You might want a cut more than anything else, but it doesn’t mean that you have to just shoot your pitches randomly and keep calling and emailing people to follow up. That’s being desperate. Wanting it badly means you keep writing better songs every day and on each given day you try to write something better than what you wrote the day before. And being very smart about working with professionals and pitching the right songs at the right time.
Write better songs. Well, this is the most important part of being a songwriter. If you keep writing songs, better than yourself and better than anyone else in your professional environment, unbelievable opportunities will automatically come after you. Let your focus be on writing better songs every time out. That’s plenty to keep you busy and to keep your mind off of how long it’s taking. Just keep writing better songs and you’ll be farther down the road faster than any other way you could travel.
Hangi Tavakoli is our in-house established and professional music producer with 20 years of experience in songwriting, music production, mix and mastering. He has written and produced more than 5,000 published songs to-date, including some major hits in international scale.