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I think the first thing I should point out is NO ONE KNOWS WHY SOME SONGWRITERS MAKE IT AND SOME DONT.
If I had the secret answers as to why you "didn't make it," surely there would be a secret answer as to why some do.
But the brutal, hard cold truth is, no one knows why some make it and why some don't.
Welcome to the music industry.
As a songwriter myself, I do understand the frustration. I would love nothing more than my art to be reached out to hundreds of people. To perform on stage and hear my song being sung back to me. And yes I'll say it, TO MAKE AN INCOME DOING WHAT I LOVE.
Truth is, in life and not just the music industry, you loose some and you win some. It's nothing you do or say that can alter that. (That is not me shaming those who put in the hard work, because OF COURSE it pays off! But some musicians can work on their art for years and years and only have the same fan base they had since the 80s, and other artists may have found the right people in the right place and suddenly, without too much work out in, they are global overnight megastars.).
I know this post is a bit of a downer. If I could change anything, I would. But there are a few simple facts I have learnt along the road that I would love to share with you.
1) Life is hard. Find easy things.
We all know this! What makes you think the music industry is going to be any easier? One thing I found that helps dealing with this, is to find the easy things. What is easy for you? For me; long walks on the beach or in the forest with my family. Waking up next to someone I love. Coffee dates with great friends. Sitting in your bedroom with a piano and writing, just because you want to. Hold on to the beautiful and small and things that help you breathe. These easy delicate things will keep you going.
2) Practise writing for yourself.
Dedicate at least one day (or a couple) days a week where you write your music or poetry with the intention no one will ever hear it. Practise your art and win yourself over. Remind yourself why you started.
3) Perform anyway.
It doesn't matter if you've given up with the fact you will probably never get your music heard. Gig anyway. Because your art deserves to be heard. Give yourself that. It doesn't mater how many people hear it, it's about giving your art the recondition it deserves. And it's great fun and it really blesses people. I can't tell you how many times I've sat inside a pub or a coffee shop and the atmosphere has completely changed because someone has got up and performed. We are all grateful for it. Even if we never pick up your business card or follow your music on Spotify... For that moment in time, we've really loved it.
4) What are you really afraid of?
The moment you realise you don't need others' approval or your own success to realise you're a damn good songwriter, that will be the moment you will care less about success and get back to the basics... you write because you love it.
I know the music industry has broken a lot of hearts. And I'm not saying that if you follow all these steps theres not a chance you won't make it... you still could! But guys, FALL IN LOVE WITH SONGWRITING AGAIN. Don't become a machine determined to conquer. Know your values, stand up for things you believe, fall in love with your life again, and write because you're damn good at it!