I heard something from my best friend and mentor the other day – Rob “The Clap” Gardner – (… hmm, I think we might need to work on that nickname). Our natural state isn’t happy. It isn’t sad either, no, our natural state is neutral. When a healthy body notices that it is feeling down, it releases endorphins and balances itself out. It will feel a high while the brain stabilizes itself. Think of a soundwave, (very apropos for a music blog) if I close my eyes I can see the highs and lows of the wave. A not-so-secret of life is that peace resides in that line smack-dab in the middle of those highs and lows in life. This entry is going to focus the times you’re feeling in the low registry in life. I want you to resist the temptation of trying to yank yourself out of these lower moments. These are merely moments. It’s okay to feel down! All the advice I have will slowly help us get back to stasis.
What to do when you feel like quitting
If I counted all the times I felt like quitting I’d have to borrow all of your fingers and toes, I only have about 30 people that read this… so it’s not that many times. We all feel like quitting. Take a second and appreciate that you’re not the only one, for example, the artist I’ve been most influenced by – John Daughter Stealing Mayer – felt like quitting. When starting off, he had such severe panic attacks that he was hospitalized! Even in recent interviews, he has admitted that he keeps anti-anxiety medication on him most of the time. He isn’t the only one that feels that way. Lady Gaga, Adele – I’m not going to keep listing them because I probably could put every musician on this list. We all wonder what the hell we are doing; we all wonder what we are doing. I have a feeling that it doesn’t matter what you’re doing if you’re an orthodontist, you probably will feel the same way.
I want you to try to remember this the next time you feel overwhelmed, no one is touching those strings the same way you move them. No one is hitting those notes quite like you are. Your thumbprint is unlike any other. Remember that this doesn’t have to be about making truckloads of money or having everyone know your name. Getting those things won’t satisfy the need.
What to do when you’re feeling restless
Songwriting doesn’t come between 9am and 5pm. It’s a twenty-four-hour commitment! Maybe you’ve already written a song, and you’re waiting to record. Or perhaps you’re even further along and are waiting to book gigs! The trick to dissipating restlessness is to set small goals you can complete within a day or a week. Be proactive and set that recording date. Get out your laptop and start googling places you can play!
What to do when you’re feeling lazy
This is not always an easy one to spot. We need to give ourselves downtime to recuperate, but we also need to make sure we stay in a nice routine. Plan out your breaks, then make sure you follow through with what you’ve set yourself to do. The only way to push through laziness is TO DO SOMETHING! It’s a lot like feeling restless, oddly enough, except the cure is much easier here, just do one thing. What is something simple you can do? Write a song? Practice scales? Play through a setlist? Write in your journal? Just do something, don’t give into your excuses and allocate specific time to veg out on Netflix.
What to do when you’re feeling bored
If it feels like you’re playing the same few songs over and over again, break out of the routine. Find out who influenced the people that affected you. Then start playing their stuff. Try learning a new technique on YouTube. I am not downplaying the discipline it takes to pick yourself up and try something new. I’m also saying it is imperative to make sure you push through and fight the boredom. Writing and performing a new song is one of the most exciting things in the world to me! Few things feel as good as releasing a new song. This is a semi-family friendly list so I won’t get into it… I’m talking about sex. You knew that.
What to do when you’re feeling Stuck
If you’ve felt stuck before, you know this feels vastly different from being bored. Something I’ve done to help me when I’m feeling stuck, I’ve learned to play my songs on different instruments! This helps us to develop as an artist. If you feel like you’re playing these same chords, or singing the same notes over and over. I like to refer to my handy dandy Chord Bible
I will look up a new chord and let the sound of that chord inspire a unique sound! If this doesn’t work, I’ll try writing a song on a new pedal! If that doesn’t work, I will try a new instrument altogether. As for lyrics, I LOVE to read, maybe you don’t enjoy it as much as I do (highly likely, as reading is one of my favorite pass times) I would try just reading clips of poetry or prose. A person with the gift of stringing words together like Christmas tinseling is a beautiful art (one could say it’s both joyful and triumphant). One last tip when you’re feeling stuck in the quagmire of writers’ block. It’s actually really easy, just listen to people talk. You’ll be surprised how often a turn of phrase inspires you.
What to do when you’re feeling inspired
I want you to IMMEDIATELY start writing! Don’t assume you will remember that great line, don’t trick yourself into believing it’s so catchy it will stick with you. It won’t. Appreciate those moments of inspiration! My philosophy is that inspiration comes in its own time. But the more you practice being open to inspiration, the more it will come to you. Keep proceeding as if inspiration will come and when it finally does come, act on it right then and there!
We all feel down from time to time. It’s ok to want to quit, it’s alright to feel lazy, it’s okay to feel bored, it’s natural to feel restless, and you will most definitely feel stuck in your life. Meditation teaches us that when we feelsomething, we should merely take note that we feel that way. Don’t try to fix it or fight that you feel that way. Take note, then smoothly enact the things that help you glide into the next state of being.
Final thought. You show compassion to others every day, if someone makes a mistake, usually you will say “It’s okay! Don’t worry about it, it’s a quick fix.” If someone is sad, you want to help them feel better, right?! Then why are you so hard on yourself when you feel sad? Why do you say to yourself, “I’m dumb for feeling sad about this.” I want you to remember this the next time you feel sad, or lazy, or negative in any way shape or form… Show yourself the same compassion you would show someone you love. LOVE YOURSELF! I promise if you do this a flood of inspiration will come and you will drown in the awesomeness that is YOU.