by Marty Dodson
Jan 15, 2017
Today, I was sharing my songwriting journey with a group of high school students. I’ve never really told my story in quite this much detail and to such a young audience, but, in the course of trying to convey my story, I discovered a couple of things about myself.
I told them about growing up in Nashville and about the intimidation I felt in regard to the music business because of the huge number of people I encountered that were trying and failing to make their dreams come true. Every person that came to work on our air conditioner was trying to be in the music business. Every waiter and waitress. Even the cable guy. All were trying but not making it.
Even though I had dreamed as a child of being one of the people whose names were on the liner notes as having written the songs, I was scared senseless, so much so that I wouldn’t even try.
I went to college and got a degree in Psychology and worked in another field for 10 years before I got the courage to give my dream a chance. Today, for the first time, I realized WHY I was unwilling and unable to even try songwriting after I got out of high school.
Because of my fears and insecurities, I had created a list in my head of reasons why I could never become a songwriter. I didn’t play guitar well. I didn’t sing well enough. My melodies were boring. I didn’t know anyone in the business. On and on the list went. I realized today that by focusing on the people who were failing in the business, I had become one of them. No one has failed more completely than the person who didn’t even try. At least the cable guy, the waiters and the air conditioning people TRIED. I had not.
So what changed my self-defeating thoughts? I met a guy who had succeeded. I asked him questions. He told me how things worked. And, the impossible became possible. Here was a guy who was getting paid to write songs telling me how it was done. If he was doing it, I believed I could too.
One of the founding principles of SongTown is that, to become successful, you have to learn from successful people. Success is contagious and so is failure. Don’t let your own list of “Why nots” talk you out of a dream. I lost 10 years of a career that I love to mine.
If I can do this, you can too. It takes a lot of hard work and a lot of time. But it can be done.
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