When I’m struggling to find the drive to keep going, or I get discouraged, I think about these things:
1) Failure is not failure. Most great people fail many times before they succeed.
2) The best way to learn is to fail. If I look at failure as an opportunity to get better, then it eases the pain of failing.
3) Each failure that I learn from gets me closer to my goal. I’ve always heard that in sales it takes “100 no’s before you get a yes” or some such saying. As long as my songs are getting better all the time, I don’t count failures as losses.
4) My value and my songs value are not set by someone else. Even if nobody else likes my song, it can still be significant to me. And someone passing on my song does not mean that I’m not a good writer. I won’t let other people’s opinions change the way I feel about myself or my writing. I will learn from their criticism but I won’t internalize it and let it change how I FEEL about myself or about writing.
5) I am not my song. Criticism of my song is NOT criticism of me. It’s simply giving me one person’s feedback that I still need to work on that song. I don’t take it personally.
6) Critiques are not always accurate. One time, a respected publisher told me he “hated” everything about my song. He hated the lyric, the melody and even the idea. I had it cut by a major artist in two weeks. If I get one person’s critique that I don’t agree with, I evaluate it and may or may not follow their advice. If multiple professionals give me the same critique, I change it.
7) I LOVE writing. I refuse to let anyone or anything take that away from me. I believe people are given passions and gifts for a reason. I’m going to continue using mine regardless of commercial success. I find more satisfaction in writing a song that I love than I do in having a #1 song. And I have songs that I love more than my #1 songs. No one can take that away from me.
8) I won’t be defeated. I committed early on to keep learning until I got this figured out. Not giving myself an out or a backup plan motivated me to MAKE it happen, no matter how hard it was. I hope some of those thoughts resonate with you! At times when you feel like giving up and throwing in the towel, realize that you aren’t alone. And never give up. ~Marty