5 Things I Can’t Do Anything About: Life Lessons For The Music Business


Letting Go…

Last week when we were trying to go to Spain, my wife and I got to the airport at 9:45 AM. Our flight was supposed to leave at 12:20. We got a little snack and waited at our gate. Then, the trouble started. They kept delaying our flight 30 minutes at a time.

Finally, the plane arrived at 2:30 PM. By 3, we were leaving the gate. As we approached the runway, the pilot announced that the smoke detector in the luggage compartment had gone off. Soon, the plane was surrounded by firemen in shiny silver suits and emergency vehicles of all types. After they decided it was a false alarm, they decided to ground the plane.

By 6 PM, we had our luggage and headed back home. It was an extremely frustrating day. We were exhausted. But, I was reminded that there are some things in life you can’t do anything about. Complaining and griping about it would have only made it worse.

It made me think about some areas of my songwriting that I can’t do anything about.

Since I can’t force them to be different, I just do my best and let the chips fall where they may. I don’t complain or gripe. I just work to change the things I can change and let these things go:

1) I can’t make someone cut my song. That’s their choice. And it’s all personal preference. Their NOT cutting my song doesn’t mean it’s a bad song.

2) I can’t make someone like me as a writer. That’s personal opinion too. Someone not liking my writing doesn’t mean I’m not a good writer.

3) I can’t make Spotify or Pandora pay me more. I do what I can to change that through legislation, but I don’t sit around and stew over it.

4) I can’t make myself younger. I can do things to overcome my lack of coolness and hipness. I can stay current. But I’m still the age I am.

5) I can’t make someone give me a Grammy. I’d love one, but 99% of that is out of my control. So, I just try to write Grammy-worthy songs and not worry about it.

Letting go of those 5 things helps me enjoy the journey and it takes a lot of weight off my shoulders. I can improve my writing and write better and better every day. Most of the rest is out of my hands.

Write on! ~Marty Dodson


Co-Founder SongTown/6-time #1 Songwriter/Realist

16 thoughts on “5 Things I Can’t Do Anything About: Life Lessons For The Music Business

  1. Sounds to me you are living the Serenity Prayer…”accept the things I cannot change…” and following the saying “ live and let live.” Thanks for posting this Marty, my inner compass appreciates being reminded of important life skills like you shared.

  2. I know what you mean about a lot of that.

    I’m a beginning songwriter, but I used to be a professional photographer. I did that for over 25 years, so yeah, I’m a latecomer to songwriting. That’s okay. It happened whenever it happened.

    And as much as I couldn’t make everybody love my pictures, I already know not everybody will love my songs either.

    So I will just learn as much as I can, work hard, and do my best. Of course, I’m doing this for myself, and not writing songs to sell to anyone.

    That takes some of the pressure off. My attitude is simply “do your best, enjoy yourself, and the rest will fall in line. Don’t worry too much about it.”

  3. First of all, number 4 is simply not true. Lack of coolness and hipness? Hardly. Those things are ageless and you def have those qualities, Marty. So own it 🙂 Secondly, thanks for the reminder of letting go of those other things. When we stop worrying about them, we get out of our own way and can be much more creative.

  4. Love it !! Expecially the cant make myself younger but i can stay current and hip !!

    Your blogs really help me stay motivated !! Thank you so much !!!

    I hope you get to go on your trip !! Thats on my wish list too ! Enjoy !!

  5. I had to look twice to see if this was something I’d posted – 20 years ago, on quitting photography for songwriting. I’m 67 now, singing most days and still loving it.

  6. Keeping your head while things go wrong, not becoming emotional, especially angry, in interacting with people in situations with you, Songwriting or airplanes or highways, can earn you a lot of points with those people who have to go through it with you. Be cool. Ain’t no big thang. Let’s laugh and get through it together. We’ll all come out the other side with a smile on our face, ready to move forward to the ongoing challenges of life and music.

  7. I thank you all for all of your posts on this and especially you, Marty, for shring your frustration. It kind of brings tears to my eyes a little. I am not sure what kind of tears they are exactly, YET, but they are definitely there..or here?

    On a problem that I was having with the very common problem with the way that most people drive/walk,etc. quite a number of years ago, and was in counselling for that sort of thing in life, one of my counsellors who knew that I was musical asked me..”why don’t you write a song about it, Dunca?” i haven’t fully answered this question yet..I am still working on it and you pwople are REALLY HELPING me! So, once again, form the very bottom of my heart..THANK YOU! Duncan.

  8. hi Marty so true bro hard lesson if people dont like you and people think you waste there time with your music it is hard work did not fall inro lap .Godbless

  9. Great advice my friend. Makes me want to listen to Bonnie again – “I can’t make you love me if you don’t….”

  10. Thanks, Marty!
    Maybe it’s the time of year, but I’m trying to re-group … I know some of my stuff is too “intellectual,” that people prefer to FEEL, rather than THINK. — Or, at least, to find a good mixture!

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