Brent is a hit songwriter with cuts by Alan Jackson, Randy Travis, Lady Antebellum, Joe Nichols, Gord Bamford, Ray Stevens, and more. He’s written a top 5 hit in the US and a #1 in Canada… so far.
As I discussed in “A Positive Attitude Matters For Songwriters” (to read it, CLICK HERE), it is very important for songwriters to have a positive attitude. In this post, I’d like to discuss 8 ways to both build and maintain that positive attitude. These are techniques which I personally use (some more than others). Feel free to tweak for your own needs/personality.
1. Regular Bible study and prayer time.
It’s important for me to connect with God on a regular basis. It’s good to spend time focusing on something outside of myself, to remember that there are things more important than music. Aligning with truth helps me to keep the ups and downs of the music biz in proper perspective. Christ has a loooong way to go in making me who I will eventually be, but He’ll get me there.
2. Display trophies.
Sometimes it’s easy to think about present disappointments and forget past victories. Try displaying trophies from your success. My wall includes albums I’m on, a few awards, and some pictures. You might not have that yet, and that’s fine. Start where you are. It might be framing a lyric that was a breakthrough in your writing. It might be framing the comments from a positive song evaluation. A photo from your first writer’s night. Or maybe it’s more of a vision board where you post visual reminders of where you want to get.
3. Listen to positive messages.
Garbage in, garbage out… so make sure you’re exposing yourself to positive messages. During my day gig, I do a lot of driving, so I’ve really gotten into podcasts. I mostly listen to entrepreneur podcasts, and songwriting podcasts and sermons. Not only do these podcasts inspire and educate me, they keep my dreams in front of me. For you, it might be posting motivational or inspirational messages where you’ll see them often.
4. Serve others.
Get out of your own life and help somebody. A disappointing publisher or pitch meeting loses some of its sting when you’re face to face with the homeless or the sick. Try it out and see for yourself. (Full disclosure: I’m lousy at this, and God usually has to put those opportunities in front of me because I’m too self centered to go look for them. But when I follow through and help somebody out, it always lifts my mood. Who’s really helping whom?)
Exercise releases endorphins and helps raise your mood. Getting in shape also gives you more energy for chasing your dreams. Plus, it helps your general self-image and makes it easier to see yourself as a disciplined person who does the right things. If you’re out of shape, that gives you one more thing to beat yourself up about. “The publisher didn’t like my song… and I’m fat.”
6. Enjoy the journey.
Don’t delay gratification until the night of your Hall of Fame induction ceremony. First of all, you might get hit by a bus the week before. Secondly, if you just put your head down and work work work until you reach some far off goal, you’ll probably burn out and quit first. The journey itself is the only guarantee- so enjoy it. Celebrate the small victories- go out to dinner with your team or hang a trophy on your wall. Don’t rest on your laurels, but celebrate along the way.
7. Eavesdrop on yourself.
What story are you telling yourself about your talent, your songs, and your chance of success? It’s important to listen to your internal monologue- that voice in your head that tells you that each obstacle is either proof that you’re a failure or just a hurdle that you’re going to overcome on your way to success. Retrain yourself to think (and talk) in more positive terms. Replace your negative thoughts with positive ones. I know, I know. It sounds kind of “woo-woo new age,” but it’s true.
8. Build a positive team.
Just as it’s important what you tell yourself, it’s important what others tell you. Are they lifting your spirits or pulling you down? Does your cowriter spend half the session complaining how nobody’s getting cuts and great songs can’t win? Or is he trying to figure out how your great song WILL win? You don’t want a team that refuses to see reality and how hard this biz can be, but you also don’t want a team that is defeated from the beginning. Align yourself with the folks who bring out the best in you – both musically and otherwise.
Well, I hope this has been helpful for you. Keep your chin up and keep writing!
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Brent’s Twitter: @Razorbaxter
Brent Baxter Music: http://www.brentbaxtermusic.com
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