How To Stay Inspired

Posted by Aaron Davison on Friday, April 6, 2012 Under: April
Do you sometimes find yourself low on inspiration? Do you struggle with periods where you just aren't "feeling it" with respect to music and your music career. I think it's normal to have periods where your level of inspiration and motivation waxes and wanes. But in my experience there are things you can do that will prolong periods of
inspiration and also make them more frequent. In today's newsletter I thought I'd share a few of these ideas with you.

1) Write music consistently. When I was younger I made the mistake of only writing music when I was feeling 
inspired.  Now I tend to write music all the time. Sometimes I feel more excited about it than other times, but I've learned that by being consistent and continually working on the craft of songwriting I'm much more poised and prepared to harness inspiring ideas when they do come.I've also discovered that by writing music frequently I have moments of inspiration much more frequently. I sometimes even dream songs, or parts of songs and will occasionally wake up, run to my guitar and capture part of what I've dreamed. These moments are always preceded by long periods of songwriting that take place every day for a couple weeks or more. There is something about consistency in songwriting that trains the brain or subconscious part of the brain to think musically.

In the book Flow, Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi (good luck pronouncing that name!) discusses this phenomenon. Mihaly documents periods of flow or being in the zone that many different artists have had and it's generally proceeded by many, many hours of perfecting one's craft. Being disciplined lays the foundation for having moments ofinspiration.

2) Build Momentum And Fans - In my experience you need to generate interest in your music from other people at some point in order to stay inspired. It's great to write music that you enjoy, but I think music is meant to be shared. By building a fan base you create a positive feedback loop that inspires you to keep moving forward and cultivating your craft. And if you can build enough of a fanbase that allows you to earn an income or even a part time income this will inspire you even more to keep progressing. 

What works for me is pursuing attainable goals and then continuing to raise the bar slightly higher. If you're constantly focused on just the idea of playing stadiums it's going to be hard to stay focused on more attainable goals that you need to accomplish first anyway to get to your ultimate goal. I've been guilty of this sort of starry eyed dreaming myself, but I actually have more success when I am able to stay grounded and stay focused on moving ahead one step at a time. How far I'll ultimately get only time will tell, but I'm sure that I've already come much further than I would have by choosing to focus more on goals and tasks right in front of me. 

If music licensing is one of your goals, and I think it should be, focus first on producing a phenomenal batch of tunes, 
then focus on getting it to the right people. Keep taking one step at a time and you'll get to where you want to go, Focus too much on a far away destination and you're going to trip and fall. To reference another author, Eckhart Tolle describes this sort of thinking brilliantly in his book The Power of Now. By staying focused in the present moment and on the goals and tasks right in front of us we're actually much more effective and will reach our long term goals more quickly.
3) Take Breaks Every Once In Awhile  Consistency is important, but every once in awhile it's helpful to take a break and recharge. It's easy to get burnt out as a musician, it's a hard and competitive industry and it's easy to lose focus on why you wanted to create music in the first place. I've found that by sometimes taking a break, for a few days or even a few weeks, that I am able to re-connect with why I am a musician in the first place. I have done this several times and I always come back to music feeling more rejuvenated and inspired than ever before.

I recently started writing and playing guitar again after almost six weeks of not playing and writing, which is the longest I've gone without playing or writing in twenty years. I've written seven songs in the last five days and I feel more inspired than I have in years! Sometimes, just like in relationships, giving yourself a little distance and perspective allows you to regain clarity and gives you a fresh perspective on music and why you create it.

In : April 

Tags: music licensing  songwriting  inspiration  eckhart tolle  flow 
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