I’ve had people come up to me and introduce themselves in a setting where I suspected that they were also songwriters. When I ask if they are writers they say, “Not a real writer – I’ve never had anything recorded”.
That always breaks my heart. I believe that commercial success does not make one a writer any more than donating to a charity makes one a good person.
Those things are outward measures that people can see and make conclusions based on. But even those conclusions aren’t always accurate. I have known people that donated tons of money to charity to make themselves feel better for the crappy way they live. And, I’ve known people who were admittedly NOT writers that happened to be in the room when a hit was written and they got their name on the song as a writer. Those outward signs can be deceiving.
If you are a writer, you are a writer because you have a writer’s heart. You see the world through different lenses. You feel and experience the world with a passion that others don’t have. You are able to put the world into words. If you are a songwriter, you put it into words and music.
That is a rare gift. And the gift is not measured by dollars and cents. The gift is measured by the continual outpouring of your soul onto paper so that others might be able to hear your work and say “That’s exactly what I was feeling, but I couldn’t find the words to say it.” It’s giving of yourself so that others might dance, laugh or sing.
If you judge your writing in those ways, you will agree that you only fail if you stop writing. The amount of commercial success you achieve doesn’t need to define you. I’m not a better writer because I’ve had several #1 songs. I’m a better writer because I keep writing.
So, my message today is – Don’t give up. Don’t be discouraged. Just keep writing. Keep doing everything you can do to improve your skills and keep pouring your heart out.
Whatever you achieve with that strategy, you will be a winner AND you will be a writer. Own it.