Inspiration

How to Deal with Crippling Self Doubt, the Roller Coaster of Emotions, and Love Your Songs Again

Perfectionism. Comparison. Defeat. Paralyzing self-doubt. All of these things are par for the course for creatives. Here's what songwriters can do when they're at the bottom of the roller coaster. | SongFancy.com, songwriting tips and inspiration for the contemporary songwriter.
  1. Deep breaths.
  2. Do you love to write songs? Like, most days, do you really enjoy it?
  3. Yes? Ok, another deep breath. Then move to step 4.
  4. Your latest song does not equal your entire worth as a songwriter.

Let’s look at that one again.

Your latest song does not equal your entire worth as a songwriter.

There’s a lot packed inside that little statement. Let’s start to pull it apart.

Think about the last song you wrote. Did you like it? How did it make you feel? Accomplished? Depressed? Excited? Ready to smash your guitar? If you where here last week, you learned about #badchildren and how every song you write usually falls into 3 categories. Let’s expound on that a bit more and talk about why you shouldn’t be so hard on yourself, even if you’ve been spitting out total clunkers lately.

You will write many, many, many more songs.

There are so many more songs inside you. Every song you’ve written before this one was clearly not your last song. You have more to write. And the more you write, the closer you get to finding your groove. Your voice. Your message. The more you write the better you get. The more you write, the easier it gets.

You have a lot more to write! Think of all the great songs you have yet to hear come out of yourself. The only way you’ll ever get to meet them is if you keep writing now.

Think of how much you’ve already grown.

Remember what you were writing last year? I bet those older songs sound so dull in comparison to what you’ve been writing lately. Every season of your songwriting life, you grow. You get better. So every now and then, it’s worth a trip down memory lane to remind yourself how far you’ve already come. If you keep writing, the only way to go is up!

The highs and the lows are totally a thing.

If you feel like some days you’re at the top of a mountain, and other days you’re falling wildly out of control on some torturous roller coaster designed specifically to scare you into never writing another song again… well, welcome to the topsy-turvy world of being a creative. These ups and downs will never go away. Your creative life will be dappled with them. Some days you’ll be so inspired and full of creative mojo that you’re constantly writing. Other days, everything will feel like trash and you’ll wonder why you’re not succeeding like all your songwriter idols.

Know that this is a thing. Know that for every low, there is a high. Learn your own creative rhythms and come up with the rituals, treatments, and strategies that work for you to manage your lows. Treat yourself with a little bit of grace during these periods, get through them, and come back out swinging.

You’re allowed to have fun.

You don’t have to prop yourself up on some unachievable level of expectation. You’re allowed to enjoy the process, even if the song isn’t hit material.

Sometimes we need a little permission to just have fun and enjoy songwriting! Even though it’s like, totally silly and you don’t actually need anyone’s permission at all. But it can be nice to hear it. So here it is: You have full permission from God/the universe/your family/your past self/your future self to have fun writing songs. Even me! Heck, if you want SongFancy’s permission to enjoy songwriting, here you go! You have my stamp of approval. Go have fun!

 

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  • http://waynecochran.net/ Wayne Cochran

    Totally get this. I wrote a blog post a while back, https://waynecochran.net/2017/07/09/artists-value/, where one of my points was how the value of an artist’s total work, regardless of their medium, cannot and should not be based on the quality of a single piece of work. I think you’ve done a great job conveying the message that no one should be defined by just one song, and how that can also apply to any art form.