SongTown USA: How Long Should It Take?

I started trying to write professionally a little bit late in life.

I had already finished college and worked in another career for 10 years.

When I began writing, I gave myself two years to make it happen. I was thinking to myself that if I couldn't succeed in two years, I needed to try something else.

Two years came and went like lightning. And, no success. None. Not one independent cut, even. I don't think I even had one HOLD after having written for two years full time.

To say that I was disappointed would be a huge understatement. I was devastated. I questioned my ability. I questioned my sanity. I was ready to quit.

I talked myself into another year. That year brought my first writing deal. It was not a great financial deal. But it was a start. Still, I had no cuts.

Year three inspired me to keep trying. Years four and five brought growth, but no success. No cuts. An occasional hold. Each little positive event kept me going toward the next one.

I finally decided that my answer to "How long will try to do this?" was "However long it takes." I was not going to give up. That decision was a game changer for me.

I stopped thinking about how long it was taking to succeed and began to focus on what it would TAKE to succeed. The waiting was still no fun, but I wasn't setting myself up to fail by setting arbitrary goals and time limits that were out of my control.

I suggest the same approach for anyone trying to be a professional writer. It's going to take a while. Settle in for the long haul. And keep doing more and more things that will get you closer to the finish line. Figure out what it is going to take to succeed and do those things as often as you can.

Doing the things that lead to success will give you little victories here and there. And, they will help you stay positive and productive because you will be able to see yourself moving closer to your goal.

That's the best way I know to stay encouraged and to stay in the game.

Write on.

Marty Dodson

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:, at and at Twitter @SongTownUSA or visit

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