Dare To Fail

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Fear is a powerful force. In the right context, such as fearing God (Psalm 112:1, 115:13, 128:1-4; Proverbs 10:27), it can be healthy. Often times however, fear keeps us from trying new things, taking risks, and experiencing what is beyond our horizons.

As artists and creatives, one big fear we wrestle with is the fear of failure. However, there are no lessons so well understood as ones learned through experience—and failure is an incredible teacher.

In songwriting, specifically co-writing, no one likes the experience of suggesting what we think to be a great idea, only to be shot down by another. But it’s in the challenge of that vulnerability where new (and often better) ideas come along, and allows us to truly grow. If your line doesn’t end up being the “right” one, it could be the very spark that was needed to get the co-writer(s) down the right path. The principle of Proverbs27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” also applies to songwriting.

Indie artists: You have a lot of hats to wear. Artist, songwriter, booking agent, promoter, publicist, art director…the list goes on. When you’re a career minded artist, the fear of looking stupid or unprofessional can keep you from asking questions or enlisting the help of pros in a given area of the business. The notion of, “There are no stupid questions,” is another great analogy here. Often just verbalizing a question not only boosts our own confidence, it allows for others who might be more knowledgeable to help rephrase it or even provide the answer we’re seeking.

Dare to fail. Confidently put your ideas out there. Reach out and ask questions. You, and your artistry, will be better for it.

Sticking To Your Strengths

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When I first moved to Nashville, I was a recent college graduate and thought I had to be able to do it all…and, instantly. Music making, lyric writing, being a developed artist, and an A-List musician. As I was attempting to be everything, I actually ended up doing none of those things anywhere close to the level in which I was aspiring. For me, this most obvious in my songwriting.

I was always good at coming up with melodies and music, but lyrics came slowly and more difficult. It wasn’t until I began co-writing with seasoned songwriters that I began to understand that I had been approaching it all wrong. I learned that it’s okay to not be a master at anything and everything. I found that the key lies in discovering your strengths, then collaborating with others who are stronger in the areas that might not be your immediate calling card.

If you’re starting out and struggling with songwriting like I was, connect with a great lyricist. Maybe you’re good at music and lyrics, but you need someone to offer a different ear to edit and polish your ideas so they can really shine?

For sure, keep working on and growing in those areas that might not be your strong-suits. But by inviting others to collaborate—and humbly fostering an environment where iron sharpens iron—you’ll grow in all areas of your craft and the process will prove more fun and rewarding.