The following commentary appeared in
the May 2003 edition of
The Songwriter's Connection.
Minor changes have recently been made.
"Living A Creative Life"
"Everything you want
is just outside your comfort zone."
Some people thrive on
taking risks, some don't. Some enjoy the
thrill of the unknown, others lack sufficient confidence or knowledge
to try anything new or different. We all
"exist" in this life, but it takes something bigger than ourselves to
make us truly "live" a life full of potential, to recognize
opportunities, etc., and strive to go after them, to live "outside the
box", outside our comfort zone, to seek our destiny ... to literally
reach for the unreachable star!
Some people make a
choice to stick to what they know works. They
like the idea of going to college, earning a degree, working for a
company that will provide a regular paycheck and that's it; generally
lives "safely". Nothing's wrong with that. Nothing at ALL
is wrong with that
IF it fulfills them, satisfies their needs, desires, wants, goals, and
most special dreams.
"For Love Of The Game"
Creative people are
different. We're an unusual
people. Yes, we DO like a regular
source of income (we DO have bills to pay like anyone else), but
there's something about living the "safe" life that just leaves us
We are constantly striving within our own
chosen creative fields to learn, to grow, to create, to share, to touch
other people's emotions, hearts, souls, and minds with ideas, visual
lyrical and / or melodic art, etc. And we do it for
art's sake. We do it because we love it. From the title of
a Kevin Costner
movie, we do it "For Love Of The Game".
Some people are able to
earn a meager living at it. Some are
fortunate enough to make a nice
living, their hard work, persistence, and consistent preparation
off. And a few are blessed with being
in the right place at the right time and making it big. The odds
of hitting the really big time are
pretty overwhelming, so if it hasn't happened to you (yet!), I wouldn't
hold your breath for too long. But at the same time, DON'T give
up hope and your dreams!
Miracles happen every day in this business!
Money, however, for
the most part anyway, is not WHY we do it. Knowing the odds, I'd
say that fewer than 1% of us actually are in this JUST for the
We write, sing, paint, shoot (photograph), and dream because we LOVE
it. Sometimes it's hard. Heck, sometimes it seems downright
impossible! But we don't give up because it's literally
our life blood! It's what fulfills us! It's what keeps our
day in and day out! We can't live if we can't create!!!
I recently read a
letter from someone who had tried and tried for SO
many years to "make it" in the
music business. He had finally decided to
give it up. Completely. Just walk away. He was worn
out and just felt that he couldn't take it anymore. Many people
responded to his
letter with words of encouragement. "Don't quit altogether!
take some time away from it for awhile! Don't give up on your
writing or yourself! Do what you need to do
in the meantime, but never give up on your dream. Don't let the
die." This gentleman, this kindred spirit, had a worthy cause
behind his decision, needing to take care of
How many of us haven't
thought of taking that same path. It
seems easier, doesn't it? But we didn’t
choose the creative life because it was easy.
And I'm sure this fellow singer/songwriter didn’t either. We
chose it because nothing else can make us
feel as alive as when we're writing, singing, painting, shooting, and
dreaming, "Today's the day I'm finally going to make it!"
Whatever "it" is for each of us.
As tough as it may be
for him to walk away from his dream of being a
part of the music industry, I
applaud his priorities. Over 20 years ago I, too, put aside my
dreams, aspirations and burning desire of being a fulltime songwriter
to get a "regular" fulltime job to provide for my young wife
and our growing family. Would I do it again? In a
BUT … I wouldn't have walked away from music altogether like I
did. I would have kept it as a part of
my life, until I could one day make it my fulltime job. My wife
certainly believed in me just as much
then as she does now, but I didn’t have the extended support system
around me like I do today (songwriter's organizations, co-writers,
etc.) to keep me
going, to help me hang in there. If you know of someone who's on
the verge of quitting, help them, support
them, encourage them, do whatever you can to help them not lose touch
with their dreams.
Wherever you are in
your pursuit of your dreams, take a moment and look
around you. If you've
already "made it", it's because you spent years and
years learning your craft and making the necessary improvements until
finally your particular chosen "art" was recognized for it's
"substance", "beauty", etc. Many people were there to help you
along your way. Some,
perhaps, for very brief times, while others have been with you through
times as well as the good. They've cried with you and cheered
with you. All in all, life is good.
If you've "made it",
look around for others that can use your helping
They're not asking for a hand out, they're just looking for someone who
knows what they're going through to help them make it another day,
another mile. An encouraging word, a comforting
"I know what you're going through" smile, is all someone else needs to
there, to keep on trying.
B. C. Forbes said,
"History has demonstrated that the most notable
winners usually encountered
heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They
won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats."
Don't give up! Don't allow yourself to get discouraged.
What you do is SO valuable that you MUST keep trying.
Winston Churchill was
to give a commencement address and when it was his turn to speak he
slowly, approached the lectern with great dignity, and gave one of the
inspiring and powerful speeches of his whole life … in just seven words
... and then
sat down! All he felt in his heart, all
he knew about life, perfectly expressed in just seven words.
There's power in simple, direct words.
(NO! Not THOSE
So, what were the seven
words of Winston Churchill's most famous speech?
"Never give up. Never ... NEVER ... give up!" We mustn't
We've all been blessed
with our own unique talents and abilities.
If we fail to
recognize them, or fail to use them once we discover them, we will, no
lose them. These talents weren't given to us for our
purposes. They were
entrusted to us for Higher purposes, to allow us to share with others,
others up, to inspire others to greatness.
These blessings weren't entrusted to us for the world's riches and
admiration, but to help us forget about ourselves long enough to help
I have a plaque
desk that reads, "A hundred years from now it
will not matter how much money I
had in my bank account, the sort of house I lived in, or what kind of
drove. But the world may be different because I was important in
the life of a child."
For my purposes
column I'd like to take the liberty of changing
just a few words to apply to all of us:
"A hundred years
now it will not matter how much money I had in my
bank account, the sort of house I lived
in, or what kind of car I drove. But the world may be different
because I was important in the life of
another human being."
This message is important
enough to say it again: "A hundred years from now it will not matter
money I had in my bank account, the sort of house I lived in, or what
kind of car I
drove. But the world may be different
because I was important in the life of another human being."
What we do with our
touches other people, the extent of which can never be measured.
We're healers of the spirit! I often receive comments from so
many people that I've never met who subscribe to my "Change Your Stars!"
motivational / inspirational messages about how a
particular message was just perfect for them that day. How was I
to know? Inspired? Hmmm ... could be. (Smiling
broadly) I'm on fairly close terms with a
couple of wonderful Muses, as well as the Highest source of all.
© 2006 by Jace
think of SO many
times that a song had a very powerful effect on
Last October I wrote a column titled, "They
Came To Hear The Music" and
dedicated it to Mickey Newbury.
His songs touched me SO deeply
many years ago and I was blessed to meet him a few times, talk with
him, and share with him how his songs had healed and lifted me at a
time when I so
desperately needed it. To this day he remains an influence in my
When we put
before ourselves, when we share our talents to help
other people, friend or stranger,
our own needs and dreams will be moved along and fulfilled by
others. Like a Hallmark card, let's care enough to
give our very best. Then we'll be worthy of all that we desire.
that we've stepped out of our comfort zone, and
won't it feel good!
lives in the Nashville, TN area and is a member of NSAI. A
Freelance Writer /
Photographer, Poet, Author, and former Radio DJ, he now enjoys a career
as a Songwriter, and a
collaborator much in demand predominantly in the Country genre, but
also enjoys occasionally writing for A/C, Pop, R&B, Smooth Jazz,
As a Freelance Writer he has contributed reviews on new CD's to online
newsletters and regularly contributed book and concert reviews along
with personal commentary on the music industry to Nashville's Songwriter's
Jace is also the creator of the Change Your Stars! website
companion daily motivational / inspirational e-mail message that's read
by over 14,000 people all over the world. For a free subscription
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