It struck me today that there are basically two kinds of writers I work with. There are empowered writers and non-empowered writers.
Empowered writers write confidently and take chances. They don't complain about the state of the music business or whine about someone not getting them cuts. They realize that THEY are in charge of the ship they are on. If they are rejected, they learn from it and move on. They see criticism as an opportunity to grow.
They know that they can always improve their craft and they keep working to get better. Even if they have a publisher and great song pluggers, THEY are instrumental in getting many of their cuts. They work long hours and keep digging deeper for better ideas and better songs. They dig for great ideas, they write the songs, they demo them, and they pitch them actively.
Empowered writers pay attention to the market and they try to write songs that move people to laugh, cry, dance, and to click that "BUY" button on iTunes. They know that they can blend art and commercial success if they pay attention to what gets people off the couch and in motion.
Non-empowered writers are reactionaries. They bounce up and down emotionally based on what OTHER people are doing for them or not doing for them. They are continually upset that their HIT songs are not being played on the radio.
They don't try to get better because they are already GREAT - they have just been held back by the system. EVERYONE around them keeps letting them down. Song pluggers aren't getting them enough cuts, big writers won't write with them, publishers won't take meetings with them. The finger of blame points everywhere but the mirror.
Non-empowered writers don't worry about writing for the market. They write what THEY want to write and condemn those who don't like their songs "People just don't get my music," is their mantra.
By now you can guess which group contains ALL of the successful writers I know. Empowered writers are the only ones I see succeeding. I propose that you almost HAVE to have that mindset to rise to the top of the music business. The good news is, you can learn to empower yourself.
If you want to succeed as a writer, work on empowering yourself or find mentors who can help you. That could be the most significant thing you ever do for your writing career and it could be the one thing that's been holding you back. If you take control of your career, NO ONE can stop you – but yourself.
Empower yourself and write on!
Marty Dodson is a songwriter, corporate trainer and entrepreneur. His songs have been recorded by artists such as Rascal Flatts, Carrie Underwood, Kenny Chesney, Joe Cocker, Leon Russell and The Plain White T’s. He once bumped Psy out of the #1 spot on the K-Pop charts but that’s another story for another day. Marty plays Taylor and Batson guitars. Follow him here: www.facebook.com/songtownusa, at www.facebook.com/martydodsonsongwriter and at Twitter @SongTownUSA or visit martydodson.com