It was kind of funny last night as I planned to put my thoughts about this in today's blog I came across a post from musician/producer/and all other things musical Stephen Mougin. He had the same thought posted on his facebook page...I figured "great minds think alike" LOLOL. Anyway, I was thinking back on my songwriting journey so far and I have always been motivated, passionate, willing to do what it takes to be successful. I've never been really afraid to fail, fall on my face, look stupid or make fun of my own shortcomings. That wasn't really the problem with me.
What scared me the most was: THE FEAR OF SUCCESS!!!
That may seem like, my grandpa use to say is, "stoopid with 2 "o's" hehe!! But for me it was, and many times still is one of my fears even today. You see, success brings on an entirely new set of challenges. Challenges that would possibly change my lifestyle, push me out of my comfort zone, and you know I feel pretty good in my comfort zone! Now some of this is real but much of the fear is "in my mind". Made up to create the "worst case scenario" and disguises itself in a bunch of lame excuses "why I can't do things" rather than focus on what I can do!
I've been very fortunate to have many of my musical heroes record my songs over the years and I can't tell you how GREAT that feels!! Along with that here are a few things in my life that have changed by achieving some success at songwriting:
1. I have had to learn to accept compliments. This may sound goofy, but I'm just not good at having people heap praise on my songwriting. It makes me feel good but very uncomfortable. But over time I have learned to just say "thank you...I appreciate it very much" and leave it at that. And I now realize that is all I should say :)
2. People email me, call me etc asking for advice, help in writing songs, asked to critique songs, help them to get songs "cut", they want me to give them a magic bullet to get their songs recorded. This has always made me squeamish, as I don't really care to tell other people how to write their songs. I now do quite a few workshops and feel it's important to "give back" and "help" but there is a limit as some folks really want to "learn" and strive to improve their writing while others just want me to "do the heavy lifting for them" so they can achieve some success. While I appreciate what many of the songwriters are trying to do, I'm uncomfortable listening to a lot of other writer's material and critiquing outside a workshop setting. I have done it but I ask..."do you want the mom and pop version or the constructive version??" I've been burned a few times by giving constructive suggestions for a song only to be "blasted" by the writer telling me I don't know what I'm talking about and the song he/she sent was destined to be a #1!!!! Now, One person even posted on facebook that I didn't have a clue what I was doing LOLOL! I'm very selective about my activity in this area and sometimes people get upset with me when I "graciously" turn down their request. I never thought some success would include this :) But, it comes with the territory.
3. Success in songwriting brings on an entirely new set of "business" challenges. Mechanical licenses, Sync licenses, Publishing contracts, Copyrights, Pitching, Dealing with egos, Collecting money, Public relations, and on and on. Hey "I JUST WANTED TO WRITE GREAT SONGS!!! LOLOL. But, with success...here comes an entirely new set up business challenges to deal with. But...it is all part of this game. The good with the bad, so to speak.
4. Judgement Day!!! With some success comes the reviews of songs in magazines, talk in the industry about my songwriting, complimentary articles and some not so complimentary. The positive comments and the negative comments. Your songs are now "out there" for public scrutiny!! I've had people tell me that a song I wrote was "the worst song they'd ever heard!!" (the song was a #1 BTW). On the other hand I have heard from so many people with positive comments and encouragement!!! This is what gets me over the fear!! :)
Anyway, just a few thoughts on this Saturday morning. Fear of success for me is "real" and I'm still trying to conquer it, but I'm doing better I think. It's not that I don't want to succeed...quite the opposite...it is just uncharted territory and I guess fear of the unknown. It is a black box that unopened is a little scary. But, I've found that once you open the "box" while there are many new challenges it is NOT as scary as it was in my imagination along the way.
So...for sure don't let the fear of failure stop you!!! You will fail at 100% of everything that you don't try. But, more importantly, don't let the fear of success stop you either!!! Hopefully, you will be able to open that "box" and realize that while it is full of new challenges...it is full of great rewards too!!! :)
Remember: Write more...whine less!