What are you doing in your professional aspirations to turn you from a thinker to a doer?
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I don’t deal a lot with the business end of songwriting. Not on this blog, and not much in real life. That’s because I’m more invested in actual musical composition. I’m interested in what makes music sound good, and what can be done to make it sound better.
There are others whose focus is on the business end of the industry. These are people who know what it takes to package and sell a product, who know how to identify and then target an audience.
If your intention is to become a better songwriter so that you can make a successful career out of it, you’re going to need to learn how to do both, at least at first. The music industry is brutally unforgiving of anyone who is a thinker but not a doer.
The music industry is also brutally unforgiving of people who hallucinate instead of dream.
A hallucinator is someone who sees or otherwise experiences something not real, but believes it is real. In the music industry, the term hallucinator is most relevant when applied to singer-songwriters who believe they are on track to building a successful career, but are actually doing none of the things that would make that a reality.
They are thinkers, not doers.
Thinking is risk-free. Thinking simply requires imagination. And it’s just as easy to imagine impossible things as it is to imagine possible ones.
Thinking requires nothing of you. It’s every bit as easy to imagine success as it is to imagine failure.
Dreaming is good; hallucinating is not. You can’t make it in business if you don’t dream. You won’t make it in business if you hallucinate.
I believe strongly in dreaming, because you need to be able to imagine success for yourself as a first important step to a wonderful future. But hallucinating is aggressively negative, and aggressively destructive. Hallucinating means that you are on track to be successful, but with an added angle: you are doing nothing to make it a reality.
As a singer-songwriter, you need to be:
- improving your songwriting skills;
- identifying and targeting your audience;
- building your audience base;
- turning your music activities into a career.
Improving on any one of those steps requires an improvement in the previous step. Getting better means asking yourself three things:
- What CAN I do?
- What WILL I do?
- What DID I do?
The first two questions are relatively easy, as long as you ask the right people.
The third question turns you from a thinker to a doer. The third question is harder.
Because if your answer to Question 3 is “I did nothing”, you’re simply a thinker, not a doer.
And the problem with Question 3 is that you can be doing things, but doing all the wrong things. The best answers to Question 3 come from learning from the ones who can truly help you. We must learn from the success of others.
So if you are hoping to make songwriting work for you as the basis of a career, you need to stop what you’re doing, look at those 3 questions, and ask yourself: What can I do, what will I do, and what did I do.
Your level of success will come from the quality of the answers you give to those 3 questions.
Written by Gary Ewer. Follow on Twitter.
“The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” 6-eBook Bundle looks at songwriting from every angle, and has been used by thousands of songwriters. How to use chords, write melodies, and craft winning lyrics. (And you’ll receive a FREE copy of “From Amateur to Ace: Writing Songs Like a Pro.“)