Sticking to your guns

You know, somewhere along the line, after waffling for years, never finishing anything I started… something changed. I actually began something that didn’t end. I certainly thought about quitting - a lot. I procrastinated. I didn’t follow through sometimes. But I never stopped totally. I kept going.

I kept going to voice lessons even when nothing felt good, even when I was making no progress in spite of excellent instruction. Every time I thought about stopping – and I often thought about stopping – something in me said, even if I never sing anywhere… there’s something I need to overcome just for myself, and this is helping. Of course, I love music, and that passion helped me to stick to my guns as well.

I was so tangled up inside with old programming. I had no trust in myself at all. But on some intuitive level, I must have understood that evolution comes from struggling to move forward against the odds.

If you ever go into my kitchen, you’ll see something on my fridge. It’s a little list of goals. And at the bottom, in big large letters, I typed “I promise myself I’ll never give up.”

Yep, slow and steady wins.


Boy at Heart said...

What a great article.
This really means something to me because I convinced myself for years that I was unable to write lyrics, even though I was prolific at composing music.

In December '07 I made a decision that I could write lyrics and so I started. It just snowballed from there and while it was difficult at the very beginning I stuck at it by publishing a website, holding myself accountable to a new song every week.

It worked and now I write complete songs all the time and have met some really great people and opportunities as a result too.

Great advice Vicky. Stick to it and maintain your passion for it, even when it is challenging (especially when it is in fact)

cinderkeys said...

"Keep going" is good advice.

The first time I seriously attempted to write a song, I never made a commitment to complete it. I just sort of kept at it, on and off.

I didn't know if I'd ever be able to finish the song until, one day, I realized I'd filled in all the blanks.

karmacoy said...

Did you study music in school?
I never did and always feel discouraged by the fact that I have limited ability in reading music.

I have joined a choir and love the singing but feel inferior to the other singers there who read music so well. Perhaps I need to look into voice lessons again.

Just how do you do this moving forward against the odds?

Rob Lawrence said...

I have real trouble completing songs although I have completed many. In reflection I have taken Picasso's words and to paraphrase

"a picture is point time, unfinished"

So when I need a song complete, I just complete it. Set the goal and do it. Then an interesting thing happens over time: parts get re-written which suggests they are fluid.

Karmacoy: It's never too late to learn. Forget the odds (90% of which are probably fictional if you're honest with yourself) and just move forward. Baby steps. It's all about tiny steps, that's where the big breakthroughs come from.

Vikki said...

@Rob - thanks for your comment. I commend you on writing a song a week - it's a huge commitment. But I do think that challenging oneself to write on a consistent basis is excellent experience.

@cinderkeys - often if I'm working on a song I'll just leave it by my keyboard, and play/sing whatever I have written when I pass by. Sometimes that's all I do... and other times I'll get an idea for the next line. Sometimes it takes me 20 minutes to write a song... sometimes it takes weeks or even months.

@Rob, that's a good point. It is said that writing is really rewriting. The point of challenging ourselves to write no matter how uninspired we are... is that we move through the block, flex our creative muscle, and get something down on the page... which then we can rework. If we wait for inspiration... it might not come.

@karmacoy - I didn't take music in school, other than singing in school choirs (which helped me experience singing harmony, and perhaps counterpoint), and playing in the school band (which helped me understand how to read music). I took no guitar lessons (taught myself) or singing lessons (other than a few). After going off the rails and living a life that had no music in it at all, I took my first voice lesson in Jan 1991, and struggled after that to relearn how to read music & count effectively, etc.

My basic response to you is - if you feel inferior because you can't read music... get some help! It would only take a little investment of time & money to feel more confident in your skills.

In other words, how you move forward is a) identify what it is you need to know, b) find a way to learn it, c) perservere thru the learning curve.