Whether you’re a singer, songwriter, or someone behind-the-scenes (producer, engineer, etc) you’ll definitely encounter struggles in the music industry. Not to be bleak, that’s just how it is. There are struggles in every industry, but the music industry has its own unique struggles along with the likelihood that most of us won’t make a full-time living from it. Many musicians do music part time while working full time. Some pursue music as a side project while in college.
You’re likely working around the clock and burning the candle at both ends, which is bound to lead to burn out. Maybe you’ve had a series of failures, or hateful YouTube comments, or any number of roadblocks. Let’s talk about how to get through these and continue on with your music.
Staying Motivated in Music
Even the most optimistic people are bound to get exhausted in this industry. It’s tough to balance your work life and creative life. If you need some encouragement, tweet me and let me know!I'm trying to stay motivated with my music! Click To Tweet
1). Allow Yourself to Take a Break
Whether it’s a semester off to focus on studies or even a year to give yourself space, you’re allowed to take a break from music. If it’s not bringing you joy and is only frustrating, there’s no reason to continue right now. You’ll get trapped in a cycle of anger and start to dread your art, which is the last thing you want.
I used to be part of several songwriting groups online. I had to leave them because I felt that they created an unhealthy mindset for me. It wasn’t their fault, I just kept comparing myself and felt horrible the whole time. If something isn’t helping you, you don’t have to do it!
2). Do Something Else Creatively
Many musical people have other artistic talents. Break out some paint brushes, join community theater, just take another direction for a while.
You can’t stay motivated in something if you grow to resent it. It becomes a chore instead of a fun activity, and you’ll lose passion for it. Allow yourself to do something else for a bit in order to bring the passion back!
Your hobbies can also become inspiration for music in the future. Check out this post on how to use your other hobbies for songwriting inspiration, and this post on how even watching TV can inspire songs.
3). Trust Only a Select Few
Very few (if any) people in this industry are going to be honest with you about your career. They might lie and say you’re awesome so they can take your money, or they’ll lie and say you’re terrible because they’re jealous. You can ask for opinions on whether you should take a break, but ultimately you should trust mainly yourself and your biggest supporters. Your family might want you to give up music because it’s “not practical,” but only you know if that’s really true. Whether it’s practical or not isn’t really relevant, it’s just about whether or not you can handle it at this time.
4). Get a Mentor or Accountability Buddy
If you can find a like-minded friend or mentor who can keep you on track, schedule meetings with them or quick check-ins to stay motivated. You can also hire a coach or counselor to help you meet your goals.
I would be careful with friends, though, for reason 3 above. Make sure this is someone you can really trust. Someone you pay will obviously have a vested interest in motivating you, but there’s the affordability factor to consider. I coach session musicians, but there are other music-related coaches out there as well. Just find someone you trust and keep each other on task!
5). Remember, You’re Always an Artist
Taking a year off from songwriting doesn’t mean you’re no longer a songwriter. You really only quit when you’re dead. If that passion and desire is within you now, it will always be within you.