When The Negative Creeps In...

Every single time I write and produce a song, or a piece of music, I experience the same thing… at some point in the process, I question my abilities. Every Single Time!!

It doesn’t matter how smooth the writing is going, or whether the track production is coming together quickly, I still question whether or not I have what it takes.  

Some of what goes through my mind includes: 

  • I’ve lost my mojo!
  • Why do I even bother trying to mix?
  • This is the worst piece of crap I’ve ever written!
  • Who would ever license this?
  • Are these sounds/samples too dated?
  • Maybe I should just quit while I’m ahead and get a regular job!

What’s interesting about this, in particular, is that I’ve come to expect this as just a normal part of my process. However, in the last few years I’ve been able to turn it into an advantage.

I Wish It Were That Easy

Now, if you’re expecting a list of 3 or 4 ways to overcome self-doubt, I wish I could provide it for you. In fact, if you have a process to overcome this, please share it with all of us in the Comments Section below.  

While I can’t offer a 3 or 4 step process, I’ve learned that when I start questioning my ability, it’s because I’ve lost perspective, and the only way to regain that perspective is to take a break. Let the creative brain rest. Let the ears rest. Get up, walk out of the studio, change location, and spend some time focusing on the business.

It’s Just Business

This IS a business, and it must be treated like one. But it’s a creative business as well. The worst thing you can do, as a creative individual, running a creative business, is to burn out. When you burn out, your creativity stops, your productivity stops, and thus, the momentum of your business stops. 

Keep in mind that this break doesn't have to be days or weeks. It can be as short taking 15 minutes to handle e-mails, discover what shows are using music similar to yours, research some music supervisors, music editors, or music libraries. You could take that time to organize your metadata, make a (business oriented) phone call, etc. The list  of what you could be doing during this break is literally endless.  

One thing you should NOT be doing, however, is waste time sitting on your couch waiting for inspiration to strike again.  

A New Perspective

After your 15 minute break, go back into your studio, press play, and listen with a new perspective. You may find you love what you hear. Or, you may find that something needs to change, and now it’s clear exactly what that is. Maybe it needs a new melody, maybe a different drum groove, maybe it’s just some level, EQ and panning adjustments.

Regardless, if you suffer from the frustration of self-doubt, and questioning your ability, realize that you are not alone. It’s just a normal, and necessary, part of the creative process. It’s normal because every successful musician deals with it. It’s necessary because, provided we recognize it as a time to take a break, it allows us to rest our creative brain and focus on everything else required to run a successful music business.

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