In the hustle and bustle, it’s easy to feel discouraged or unsatisfied with your current career progression. This is especially so with something as personal as music. It’s not uncommon to pour all of your heart and soul into what you do, only to feel like you’re not yielding the results you desired. The longer you’ve been in the industry, the more likely you are to encounter a creative rut. The everyday work routine becomes mundane, and you start feeling down and doubtful about your career.
While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to combat this, here are a few ideas to try and reignite the passion you once had. Take a look at these five possibilities and see which of them makes the most sense for where you’re at now. Remember, this too shall pass. It always does.
Assess what you really want
Without a clear direction of what we want to achieve, we may lose a sense of accomplishment and feel dispirited at work. Another common rationale is our goals are shifting, but we’ve yet to recognize that or make further steps to attain our goals.
Take a moment to think about what it is that you really want out of your career, and don’t be afraid to be specific and dream big. Instead of saying, “I want to make music full time”, think about what that really means for you and be sure of it. Next, take a few steps back, and think of a few small goals that are achievable within the coming months. By realigning yourself to your goals, you’ll be able to see better progress in your profession.
Map out what you need to get there
While envisioning your career’s future, it’s easy to list ‘full-time music’ as your ultimate goal and call it a day. That’s a great goal, but it’s going to take some time (and the fulfillment of many smaller tasks) to get there; this is where your one, three, and six-month goals come in. They all help you identify and build towards a larger purpose. Here’s an example below:
For a start, you might make your one-month objective to connect with five bands in your area. Next, to build off that, you would make your three-month goal to book a local show with a relatively well-known band in your town. This starts to get you traction and in front of more fans while giving you more live show experience.
Your six-month goal might be to book a weekend or week-long tour in your region. At this point, you’ve built up a bit of a local fanbase, garnered some live show experience, or booked a small tour that goes within a few hours of your local city. All of this gets you closer to your ultimate goal of making music full-time by building your connections and fanbase. Plus, it’s tangible. You can see the results and the progress, and celebrate them.
Change up your routine
Oftentimes we get so set in our routine that it’s not only a little boring, but it’s a total creativity and motivation killer. Ever wonder why you have the best ideas in the shower, right before bed, or on vacation? It’s because you’re relaxed and not cluttered by a to-do list, so your brain is free to find new inspiration and ideas.
Something as simple as working from a coffee shop instead of your home, modifying your desk space, or doing something totally different on the weekend that you wouldn’t normally do (music related or not) can be enough to start to get you out of a funk and reinvigorate that creativity.
It might be challenging at first, but try changing up your routine every now and then. We adapt so quickly to new environments and situations that it can require constant effort, but that’s the fun of it. It keeps you creative.
Do something new with your music
Just as doing something for the first time in your life helps you stay active and motivated, so does attempting new things in your music. This could mean actually changing up your music if you’re bored of it or feel like it just isn’t resonating, but it could also be changing up what surrounds it. Think of your music career as a sandbox. You don’t have to keep building the same thing over and over — it’s perfectly fine to play and have fun with it. Don’t be afraid to experiment.
Stay open to change
Change is the only constant in the music industry and our lives, so adaptability is key. The ability to pivot and identify when something isn’t working is key.
Your goals may have changed over the last few years, and that’s normal. Sometimes, when our personal goals in life change, our goals for our music must evolve too. Say, you wanted to tour full-time ten years ago but now have a family you don’t want to leave. You have to adjust your goals for your music career as well. It doesn’t mean you can’t do it full-time, you just have to adapt and work around your new schedule.
Change is scary, but don’t get stuck in a spiral of self-doubt just because things are different now. Think of this as an opportunity to re-evaluate what you want and to go after it with fresh eyes and fresh ideas. It might just be the catalyst you need!
Angela Tyler is the founder of MP Co. (formerly Muddy Paw PR) and has secured placements on Forbes, Business Insider, American Songwriter, Lead Singer Syndrome, & more. She loves dessert, her rescue dog Sawyer, and new ideas.