A dear singer/songwriter friend recently wrote me an email confessing her “I hate this business” woes, her lost inspiration, her disappointment with the path her career was taking or, more accurately, not taking at all. She was in a deep funk and I tried to gently breathe some warm healing wishes on her wounds. I told her I empathized, but please keep the faith. She’s an incredible songwriter, a gorgeous singer, a typically tough cookie in the face of adversity. I told her there’s no question that brighter days would come.
Then I prescribed the only thing I know to do when the flow of a songwriter’s life gets gunked up in the proverbial drain. I told her she needed to write. Write more. Write now.
“Writing is the answer. It always is.” I said.
Then I proceeded to pass numbly through a couple of months of my own thickly-masked music-biz blahs that I’m not sure I was even aware had taken hold until now.
Songwriting collaborations that weren’t working or I had set aside because I doubted my ability to impress. Creeping hesitations of the ill-equipped and overwhelmed as my new album finally nears completion, meaning I’d soon need to find a way to make it sell or at least get a decent review or two. Freelance life financial challenges that I sometimes couldn’t look directly in the face for fear they would render me unable to overcome them one hour at a time.
There was a definite blip where I felt heavy with my own creative pursuits, so much so that I wasn’t really pursuing them.
And I sure wasn’t writing about them, either.
When I look at what was different, what was missing during that blip of blahs, it’s pretty simple now to find the cause. I wasn’t writing. In fact, I was avoiding writing. I wasn’t writing songs. I wasn’t writing this column. I was giving bare bones attention to my blogs, fan emails, and I could barely fire off a 14 character tweet more than a few times a day. (Yes, that’s a shocking revelation for this twitter-addicted chick.)
I’ve had plenty of financial woes, even when corporation-employed, but I didn’t sink into despair when I was writing because I was still working toward something, accomplishing something. Writing—songwriting especially---is kind of a silvery slice of moonlight that empowers me.
If I can create a song out of nothing but thoughts and feelings, memories and dreams, I can certainly create a life, pay a bill, wash a dish, buy a house, change the world. Right?
Yes, that’s exactly right. I know its right. It’s been right too many times in my life for me to be convinced otherwise, so don’t even try. I won’t listen. My advice to my friend is trustworthy and sound. I believe it completely. I just need to keep applying it to my own life, too.
“Writing is the Answer. It always is.”
I sometimes think that inside every writer there lives a scared little kid wearing a superhero costume who’s peering over the tall building ledge. Writing is that costume for me. It puts stars on my helmet and shines up my wings.
Just a fantasy? Perhaps. But writing nearly always convinces me that I can fly.
It certainly got me from back there to right here. And, wow, does it feel good to write that.