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Find Your Joy (and Hold It Close)

By Justin Gray (Songwriter/Producer/Founder No one becomes a songwriter in anticipation of fortune and fame. The likelihood of super-duper stardom is hard to come by and elusive. No sugar coating it. Anyone who has ever written a song…or even tried to write a song would agree. Songwriting is a calling, it’s a passion. It’s a necessity. Any struggling songwriter will tell you that the pursuit of passion is heartbreaking, challenging, and mentally exhausting. But..IFKYK…and if you’re reading this…you know! Sound familiar? Here are 5 reminders of where you came from, who you are, and why you do this.

When did IT hit YOU? - Do you remember that first moment when you played your first chord on the piano, or strummed your first notes on the guitar? Maybe it was the first time you figured out how to rhyme words, or perhaps it was a melody that came into your head unexpectedly. When did that hit you? Because that is the moment that your future changed. What’s YOUR purpose? - Why are you doing this? This is a key question that every songwriter has to ask themselves…not only in the beginning, but that challenge should be posed regularly. Is this about success, or is it something that is innately ingrained in your DNA? My sense is that it is the latter. Which means that at the end of the day, you need to be happy with what you’ve done, and the song that you’ve created. Do great work, and your success will be inevitable. Be Gentle and Love Yourself - Be your own fan. But also try to maintain your own personal objectivity. Give yourself a break. You cannot write the best song of your life every single time you sit down to write a song. Sometimes you need to let the bad ones out in order to open up the space to let the good ones in. It’s okay to be disappointed in your creativity, or your output. Try going back and listening to something that you did six months, a year, or even longer ago. I think you’ll be surprised to see that it was much better than you thought it was at the time. Have Fun - As a continuation of loving yourself, hand-in-hand goes with it… Having fun. If you’re not having fun, stop and go for a walk. Get coffee. Scroll Instagram. Turn your brain off from micro focusing on what it is that you were doing. Enjoy yourself! After all, we are writing songs. And as much as I want to say it’s no big deal, the right song can change the world. No pressure… But still have fun! Set Expectations - The biggest way to disappoint yourself is to create unrealistic expectations. Every day that you sit down to write a song, your goal should just be to do the best you can do on that day. Put yourself into situations that can set you up for success. When your song is done, acknowledge your efforts, and the additional effort you may need to invest.. Great songs have a way of surfacing to the top. Stay optimistic, stay positive, but always stay realistic. I guarantee you will exceed your expectations every time. The Coda: You have a special gift. A talent bestowed upon you from the universe, or whatever higher power you may believe in. Be grateful, be thankful, and understand the joy that this brings. It is your superpower. Use it wisely. See you next week, and keep writing them hits.


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