Songwriting

The Day I Was Offered $40,000 (Plus Benefits) To Quit Writing Songs

by Marty Dodson
Jan 8, 2017

There have been many days in my writing career when I thought about quitting.

The voices in my head have frequently tossed out “I’m not sure you’re good enough” or “The odds are stacked against you”.  Most of those days have followed some sort of big disappointment.  A hold lost.  A cut that was a “sure thing” that fell through.  A single that didn’t happen.  I’ve endured many of those days.

A friend offers to take me to lunch…

The big test of my resolve came one day when a friend staged an intervention of sorts.  He offered to take me to lunch.  That’s like inviting a fox into the hen house.  A struggling songwriter is always going to be up for a free meal.  So, I went. And lunch began with lots of probing questions regarding my songwriting career.

“How many cuts have you had?”  “How much are you making?”

“ZERO” was the answer to both.  Then he moved into “How is your family scraping by?” and questions like that.  I still didn’t really know where he was going with the whole conversation, but I was sinking lower and lower in my seat.  Here I was admitting to a friend that I was failing in my pursuit of my dream.  And, maybe even failing my family in the process. Finally, he got to the point.

He wanted to offer me a job.  The job would pay $40,000 plus benefits.

My highest yearly salary prior to that was $30,000 with no benefits.  It was a sweet deal.  It was secure.  It was responsible.  And, it was writing instruction manuals for small appliances.  As in “Toaster may be hot during and after use.”  “Insert bread into slot on toaster.”  I was at a crossroads.

I went home and thought it over.  I had to look myself in the mirror and ask:

“Do you really believe you can be a songwriter?”

And

“Are you willing to do what it takes to succeed as a writer?”

I concluded that I wasn’t put on this planet to write instructional manuals.  No offense to those who do.  That’s a valuable service.  But, that wasn’t me.  I would have died inside if I had taken that job.

So, I made the hardest call of my life at that point…

I told him “No, but thank you.”  He thought I was crazy.  He doesn’t anymore, but that’s beside the point.

Anyone who chases a crazy dream will have those days when it just seems too hard or maybe even impossible.  But the only ones who succeed are the ones who never give up.  Ever.

I’ve never looked back and I left that phone call determined to succeed at my dream.  If I can do it, you can do it.  If you want it bad enough, you can do it.

Write on! ~Marty

Marty Dodson

Marty Dodson

Marty Dodson is a multi-hit songwriter, co-founder of SongTown, and co-author of  The Songwriter’s Guide To Mastering Cowriting and Song Building: Mastering Lyric Writing

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