Let me share some failures with you. Don’t worry. There’s a happy ending.
Elvis Presley was booed off stage in Batesville, Arkansas (my hometown). Garth Brooks got passed on by every record label in Nashville. “Bless The Broken Road” was a non-hit single for an artist named Melodie Crittenden in 1998. A songwriter named Brett James gave up on the music biz and moved back to Oklahoma. A young songwriter named Kenny Chesney was told by a cowriter they should hire a demo singer for their song because Kenny “can’t sing.” “Monday Morning Church,” written by two unknown writers, failed to make NSAI’s Pitch-To-Publisher Luncheon.
What a bunch of losers, right? What a bunch of nobodies who never made it and songs that failed miserably.
Of course, we all know that’s not how these stories end.
Garth, Elvis, and Kenny became hugely successful artists, selling millions of records. Brett James started getting cuts, moved back to Nashville, and has written a ton of hits. “Bless The Broken Road” became a multi-week #1 and career song for Rascal Flatts. “Monday Morning Church” went top 5 for Alan Jackson and got me into the music business.
That’s how life often works. Fail. Fail. Fail… Win.
Obviously, not every song and songwriter that gets rejected will eventually find major success. Honestly, most won’t. Some songwriters have countless “fails” before a win. Some don’t have very many at all.
So, if you have some failures on your ledger… so what? Dust yourself off and try again. Learn from your failures. Fail again. Fail better.
The truth is, we rarely know when we’re close to a success or a breakthrough. We just keep working hard, plugging away. Fail, fail, fail…
I know. It’s easy for me to say. I’ve been blessed with some wins to go along with my losses. And I can’t promise you that your next (or first) win is just around the corner. But I can promise you that failing is just part of the process. It’s a part of every success story.
Maybe you’ve had so many “fails” in a row that you’re considering quitting your pursuit of professional songwriting or getting cuts. If that’s where you are, there’s a book by Seth Godin that may serve you. It’s called, “The Dip,” and it’s about when to stick it out and when to just get out. I’m a fan of Seth’s work, and while I haven’t read this book just yet, it’s on my to-read list. Here’s a link if you want to check it out.
I’d love to hear from you! Have you read “The Dip?” What did you think? Have you heard (or lived) any good Fail-Fail-Fail-Win stories? Please share your thoughts in the comments!
God Bless and Enjoy the Journey,
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.