You can't move forward without falling down ;)

If you read my blog now & then you know I’ve been reading Ariel Hyatt’s “Music Success in Nine Weeks.” I began to do this because she was running a blogging contest, and who wouldn’t want to win some help with publicity. Although I’d still like to come in first, I’ve found working through the book is valuable in and of itself. I did go through it in a dilatory sort of way a dozen months ago, made some notes, made a few changes. But anything that required a more thorough application of elbow grease was pushed aside.

Now I'm working through it again, I find I am more focused in my goals. I have made some changes. I am writing my newsletter again, I am exploring ways to made my blog more visible on-line, I’ve found more communities to participate in. I’ve been more proactive in thinking about who I am, what I do, and what I want to say about it.

I am often asked for advice on how to be more successful in the music industry. I guess people look at me as someone who has a secret, or who knows the right people, or who was born under the right star. Ha. Nothing could be further from the truth. I spent the better part of my life going in circles, digging deep ruts, walking backwards, falling flat on my face. But somehow I found a way.

The first truth that I’ve come to know is that any change that you desire is, in most cases, possible. Achievable. Dreams can come true, goals can be reached, visions can be actualized. The second truth I’ve come to know is that getting from where you are to where you want to be ain’t easy. That’s why many of us talk about writing songs, or books, or getting out the art supplies, etc. Talk.

Cause in order to get where you want to go… you have to know where you are. You have pinpoint your location on a map so you can see which route to take. I tell my students, that means… accepting. Accepting where you are. 'I am here. I have no skills, I have no idea, I have no money. I do have, this burning desire, I do have, these good friends, I do have, a mind. I can read books (from the library). I can look things up on line (in the library). I can borrow resources, I can ask people who are doing it how they got where they are. I can find mentors, people who will support me with feedback and advice.'

Most of all, you can find the time to put in the time. If you want to write, that means you have to write. It costs next to nothing to write. You can write on cheap paper you bought at the dollar store, you can write on you computer. If you want to draw then you buy a sketch book and pencils and you fill up both sides of the paper on every page til the book is full. If you want to sing then you get up every day and sing scales and songs.

I'd start, and then stop. I stumbled, I fell, I got lost, I screwed up, but somehow I found a way forward.

Slowly, over time, I have evolved. I thought this ‘transcendance’ was impossible for me. I felt, I didn’t have ‘it’. I felt useless, unworthy, hopeless, lazy. Why bother. Who was I kidding. Just wash dishes for a living, collect your pay, read a few books, dream a few dreams, til it’s over. Don’t rock the boat, don’t give yourself airs, do the ‘right’ and ‘prescribed’ thing. Don’t colour outside the lines.

Screw that.

So today I’m a fully fledged creative. I get up every day and do music, not dishes (lol). I don’t clean motel rooms for a living (don’t clean my bedroom either). I’m a self-educated person. I write, I sing, I paint, I compose, I blog. I went from being so terrified that I literally stammered when saying ‘how are you’ to being able to speak to a ballroom full of people, sing opera on stage, and chat with people at music conferences, tweet-ups, open mic nights, and more. Ask me how I did that, I will try to answer. Ask me how you can do that, I will try to answer. But I suspect you already know: figure out where you are, figure out where you want to be, and set out to do what you need to do, learn what you need to learn, practice what you need to practice, to take baby steps towards your dream.

So, how does a shy singer learn to sing without shyness? How does one foster confidence when your knees are so weak from fear you can't stand up?

By starting where you are, not denying, not judging, but accepting. 'I am so shy, I’m terrified to even walk into a voice studio, never mind open my mouth. But with the right teacher, maybe I’ll figure out how to do that. I have to. Even if I crawl in cause I can't stand up. I have to. Cause I don’t want to spend another day not singing.'

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Amy said...

I've been following your blog for the past couple of months and I have to say: you are inspiring.

I've been considering starting a blog of my own based around my venture as a singer/songwriter - a way to get my thoughts down and perhaps feedback. But each time I've talked myself out of it: I'm a beginner. I haven't written enough songs. I'm not good enough. No one cares whether or not I'm creating songs. I don't have anything interesting to say.

But you've inspired me. I've decided to go ahead and start the blog, regardless of how inane my posts may be. (lol. even as I wrote that my mind was making up excuses for not doing it).

I look forward to reading many more of your posts!

Vikki said...

Amy, what you just said is interesting. You are talking about the reality of the struggle. You are being honest.

Let me know when you set it up!

Christopher said...

This is a beautiful post. Anyone with confidence, measurable goals, and a clear direction of where they would like to eventually be can achieve anything. More people need to adopt this worldview.

I am glad Ariel's book helped you, once again, "see the light" haha...

Vikki said...

@Christopher - thanks for leaving such a lovely response to my post! Glad you liked it.

Amy Lin said...

The blog is up! There's not much to it, but I've gotta start somewhere, right? Here's the link: