Day Job: A Songwriter’s Prison or Patron?

Brent Baxter is a hit songwriter with cuts by Alan Jackson, Randy Travis, Lady Antebellum, Joe Nichols, Gord Bamford, Ruthie Collins, Ray Stevens, and more. He’s written a top 5 hit in the US and a #1 in Canada… so far.

Prison Patron

If you have the dream of being a full-time songwriter, singer/songwriter, or other type of creative, I know it can be easy to think of your day job as a prison. You feel chained to your desk, or the sales floor, or the job site all day. You feel imprisoned by the 8-to-5 because you aren’t free to do what you love all day. This view of your day job as a prison understandably breeds resentment and despair.

But what if there’s another way to look at it?

What if, instead of being your prison, you day job is your patron?

It’s never been easy making a living from art. Way back when, artists used to find a rich person to provide financial backing so they could work on their art. This person was known as a “patron.”  Of course, these days I wouldn’t expect to find someone to give you room and board just so you can write songs. (Of course, there are a few publishing deals out there, but they don’t usually pay enough to feed a family.)

So let your day job be your patron.

Let your day job pay for the roof over your writing room and the coffee in your mug. Let your job during the day fund your art on nights and weekends. Get paid while you build connections in the music business. Let your boss pay for your demos- he won’t even ask for your publishing!

I know, I know. It’s easy to resent that your day job doesn’t allow you time to write as much as you want. But, in reality, your day job DOES buy you more time. It buys you time to learn and get better while there’s very little to lose by failing.

Relying completely on songwriting to feed your family is extremely difficult- I know from experience.

So use this time to improve your songwriting, build relationships, and start growing your business.

Turn your prison into your patron.

God Bless,



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12 thoughts on “Day Job: A Songwriter’s Prison or Patron?”

  1. “Respect (knuckle bump) Boss Man!” like in that Volkswagen Superbowl commercial. I was blessed in August with a great new day job, and for Christmas/My Birthday, a super audio interface that is extremely travel friendly. I’m probably about to get a little travel guitar, so whether it’s walk 10 steps from the home office to the music room, or those often idle nights in hotel rooms, I’m gonna always be work tape ready in 2015!

  2. Very timely post for me. I started a job 9 months ago that is very very slow. I usually get one thing to do a day. The rest of the day– I write. I know it’s not what you meant, but this job is truly my patron.

  3. While I don’t necessarily look at the job as a patron, but I do look at my co-workers as a support group. We all have dreams outside of the job, and that support can be appreciated. When my song won the Merlefest Chris Austin Songwriter Contest this past April, my co-workers treated me like a king for a few days, constantly congratulating me and supporting me since I couldn’t actually attend the contest due to work time-out restrictions.

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