When I started keeping this blog I was full of excitement and enthusiasm. I am also a singer/songwriter and was full of vigor and determination when I recorded my latest project in August. Both projects, when I made them available to the world, felt like bold leaps of faith. The positive feelings were strong enough to trump the vulnerability that comes with introducing original work. I told myself no matter how things turned out with either endeavor, I could handle it.
Well, I was wrong. I uploaded songs to a website that sells music through 23 different vendors, including Amazon.com and iTunes. So far, I haven’t sold one track! The song that carries the most emotional weight and personal meaning for me has gone virtually unnoticed. I’ve entered it into several channel contests on Ourstage.com. Not only does the song not make the top 100, it places dead last every time I enter it. This has happened three times so far. When I perform the song live, people tell me they love it. Great passion comes alive within me when I sing it. Yet I can’t seem to get anyone on the Internet to even listen to it. The Ourstage dashboard tells me it has been played 60 times (the current contest leader’s song has been played something like 1000 times, and she only posted it a little over a month ago). There is absolutely no feedback from anyone. I don’t know whether it’s the song itself, the sound quality, my photograph, or if I’m not “selling” it properly. I ask myself why people don’t like it, why it’s not making an impact on anybody, and why, if it means so much to me, it doesn’t mean anything to other people.
The same goes for my writing. I worked for hours on “The Great Mucktown Adventure”, which I posted here a few days ago and on another website last month. On that other website, I initially got a lot of positive feedback. “Mucktown” has, however, fallen by the wayside in favor of other U2 fans’ blogs on that site. The fans who read my entry gave it great reviews for the most part, but it doesn’t seem to have the staying power of other stories. I posted it here with the same enthusiasm, however I’ve already run into problems convincing people to read it (plus I’ve had some technical difficulty with the links). So far, no one has “liked” it on Facebook. Trying to get people interested in my blogs and papers is proving to be far more difficult than I imagined. Maybe I’m simply being too impatient. But again, I find myself asking why. Why don’t my creative works “go anywhere”? Why can’t I have just a little bit of success? Why isn’t anyone leaving feedback? Why is the music industry so age-biased, if that’s even the issue? Why do people think I am so boring? Why did God give me these passions but not allow me the chance to use them?
Why, why, why.
I managed to “why” myself into a bout of major depression over these two things. Today, however, I started to read a book by Anne Bruce entitled “Speak For A Living” (an endeavor I hope will accompany my writing projects in the near future). First, Bruce has the reader complete a questionnaire designed to assess whether or not public speaking is an appropriate career move. Immediately after the survey, she names the one thing successful speakers should never do……ask “why”.
I realized I am killing myself emotionally by focusing on “why” I’m not getting the immediate, desired response to my songs or my writing. This is a total waste of energy and time. I am not sure what to do regarding the music, but I suspect it has something to do with patience, or with accepting the song should simply be a “personal diary song”, not something for the masses to appreciate. Patience is one of my weakest points. I guess I need to learn, as Joyce Meyer says, to “wait well” and keep moving forward in the meantime.
I actually wrote a song 10 years ago called “Stop Asking Me Why”. It’s about dating a man whom I felt friends and family would not have accepted. Because they could never understand my reasons, it was pointless for them to be concerned with “why”. Yet here I am on a pathetic, child-like downer because I am not using the wisdom I suggested in my own song!
2011 was a fantastic year for me otherwise, so much that I have not given any thought to resolutions for 2012. Right now, I resolve to stop getting hung up on the whys in my life. They are power thieves! What will be will be regarding the songs and stories.