If you’re anything like me, you jump at the chance to grab your notebook come January 1st and start writing out all your biggest dreams, goals, and desires. You delight in dreaming big for the future and the adrenaline of all that’s to come simply consumes you.
It’s that time of year when we all collectively vow to be better versions of ourselves. Better people, better musicians, better performers, (all while staying hydrated and getting more sleep). And the truth is that although these goals are often well-intentioned and we start out the year with all the gusto we think we need to carry through and succeed, for most of us, we’ll soon end up burning out and struggling to keep up with the goals we’ve set for ourselves.
Every time you release a new single or album, you’re not just giving people music to listen to. Music has a unique ability for forging powerful connections between artists and listeners. And, believe it or not, these connections can happen whether you’re an artist big enough to sell out arenas or are releasing your first couple of singles and are unknown to most listeners. Your next song could easily be a huge source of comfort, understanding, and visibility for the people who hear it.
Every year we ring in the New Year with a laundry list of well-intentioned promises to ourselves. We’ll finally start practicing with consistency. Get enough sleep. Make those connections. Do the things we’ve been avoiding doing. We put all this pressure on ourselves to suddenly be a wildly new and improved version of ourselves. And usually, a lot of that falls into our music career. We put the lion’s share of our goals into how we can do better with our careers. And that’s not a bad thing. After all, there’s something really inspiring about the start of a new year, filled with new opportunities. It can be the fresh new start that we need to finally take action on things we’ve been ignoring.
In songwriting and in life, it’s easy to fool yourself into thinking that things need to be perfect before you can start working towards your goals. Sure, you’d love to finish your debut album, but a few of your songs aren’t as strong as they should be and it’s just not ready. You want to spend more of your time making music, but you’re waiting until your home studio has the ideal equipment setup first. Or maybe becoming a serious songwriter has always been a goal of yours, but a voice inside you says you just don’t have the talent it takes to succeed.
It’s true that the more time you spend engaging with the music creation process, the better songwriter you’ll become. But if you’re the type of workaholic songwriter that goes weeks without leaving the studio to see the light of day, you’re missing something important. Breaks are crucial for your process no matter who you are and what kind of music you make. Spending every waking moment writing might sound good for your process, but there’s a point where doing this actually backfires and starts to hurt your music. If you’re burnt out and think you need a break, here are five signs to look out for:
What it would feel like to step on stage and look into the audience to see all those excited faces staring back at you. You’ve thought about what it would feel like to hear them sing your lyrics back to you, to see them swaying along to the music.
But when you open your eyes, the reality is all but the magic you hoped for. In fact, when you actually step on stage, you’re kind of terrified. Sweaty palms, stomach in knots, heart threatening to beat right out of your chest..and you realize—you’re nervous. Like, crazy nervous. Every fear and doubt you’ve ever had about yourself is flooding your mind right now and you’re freaking out.
‘Tis the Season! I have to admit, the holiday season is a special time of year for me. Not only am I a sucker for all the holiday festivities like the sparkly lights, ice skating and hot cocoa, gift-giving, and time with family, but it’s also such a fruitful time for creativity.
While the winter is naturally a slower time for the music industry, that doesn’t mean it’s all halting to a stop. And, if you plan it right, it can actually be a really good time to use some of that creative energy you have and put it into making something special for your fans, and doing things a bit differently.