When you think of marketing, does it fall into one of two categories? Either sixties advertising execs in fancy suits and tall buildings or slick ads that won’t leave you alone (seriously, how do they know I was talking about nachos?!)
If you’re lucky, songwriting is something you naturally feel like doing whether it’s your career or something you do with every spare minute in this season of your life. But if you’re not so fortunate, writing songs might feel difficult to do or even impossible for you right now. The truth is that all music-makers go through periods where it can feel either effortless or endlessly challenging to create music. Going through a motivational rough patch with your musical career isn’t a reason to quit, but an opportunity to dig in deeper. Many musicians will tell you these boom and bust periods are natural in songwriting, and that there’s often a lot of inspiration to be found after going through a dry spell. Here are five strategies for fighting writer’s block:
Here’s a funny thing to wrap your head around: in almost every interview I’ve done with a nationally known label-signed artist, when I ask them what they miss most about their pre-label or fame days, the answer is always some form of the same: they miss being an indie artist.
I was too– at first. But then we started to dig deeper into what it was they missed and the things that being a major doesn’t allow for in the same way that being indie does. The more we talked, and the more interviews I did around this, the more evident it became that for all the things we might want to change about being an indie artist, there is a special something about being in this stage of your career. One that, all too often, artists don’t appreciate until it’s long gone and replaced with new and arduous tasks that they can’t escape.
Curious about what it is about being an indie artist that major label bands miss most?
A song is a song, but it becomes an entirely different thing once it’s shared with people. There’s nothing wrong with making music purely for your own enjoyment and never sharing it with another soul. In fact, without experiencing real passion and creative engagement during your songwriting process, you won’t be writing music for long. But taking the step of sharing your music with other people is a completely different game. Here are five big changes that happen when you decide to publicly share your music:
Whether you’re a solo artist or a member of a 7-piece ska outfit, it’s paramount to show up to your live performances confident and prepared. Some artists even adopt a superstitious approach that helps them get ready before important shows, like wearing certain clothes or listening to a favorite album before hitting the stage. Decide for yourself if the superstitious route works for you or not, but adopting these five more conventional pre-show rituals will help you prepare for your concerts.
If you struggle with feeling forced to decide between following your creative intuition and staying stylistically consistent as a songwriter, you’re not alone. It’s not easy to know whether to stay the course or constantly forge new creative paths as a musician, and, spoiler alert, there is no one wrong or right way to go about this because every songwriter is unique. But there are a couple of universal truths you can look to for guidance if you find yourself in this tricky position as a music-maker.
Nothing substitutes the magic of sitting down with an instrument and experimenting when it comes to songwriting. If you want to make great music, this is a major piece of what the work looks like. But there are lots of other things you can do as a music-maker to integrate music creation into your daily life. Keeping a journal is one of them.
Writing in a journal might not seem especially helpful for your songwriting process, but it’s something easy that will provide big benefits for your work as a songwriter.
Mental health is a huge deal, but you probably already knew that as a musician. Professional musicians are especially prone to mental health problems, whether it’s feeling isolated and depressed on tour, or experiencing major anxiety because of financial problems. The good news is that the act of creating and sharing music delivers some powerful benefits that can support your mental health.