Remember the excitement you felt when you got a new box of crayons? You got out your favorite coloring books or sheets of blank paper and without anyone telling you what to do your creative juices flowed. What’s stopping you now? You’re thinking too much! Creativity comes when the analytical mind is quiet. Don’t know how to start? Buy a box of new crayons today and make something colorful. It doesn’t matter what it is. It can be abstract or an object. Your assignment is to color with abandon! Share your creations with me on Instagram.
Everything is running smoothly and you’re excited about the future until the moment it shifts. You pick your head up and the world and your life is out of focus. You try to rationalize what you’ve been doing, but in your heart you know it’s not going to work anymore. All the books and articles and mentors don’t seem to have a direction that feels right for you. Don’t be thrown off balance. That brilliant brain of yours is just processing all the information you’ve been gathering and needs to reboot. When it does, your focus will be sharp and clear again — until the next time!
When I was sixteen (it feels so funny writing that because being sixteen feels like yesterday and another lifetime simultaneously) I was a sophomore in high school and a competitive gymnast devoting sixteen hours a week to practicing my sport. At age sixteen I was not taking voice lessons. I had actually just stopped and wouldn't begin again until my senior year of high school.
I was incredibly concerned with the short term goals of my life and not necessarily the long term ones that I would ultimately find fulfilling. I knew I wasn't going to be a competitive gymnast forever, but I had set goals for myself that I felt I needed to meet before I felt comfortable closing that chapter of my life.
Upon beginning to take music seriously again my senior year of high school and throughout my first three years of college I regretted postponing my serious commitment to my music. At school and through friends I learned how early some well-known singers got started in their life and it made me feel as if I was fighting a losing battle. How could I possibly compare to people who had been devoting hours a day to their music since they were practically toddlers while I felt I was basically starting at age 18? While I had always been involved in music - played violin from 2nd to 4th grade, was in a band from 4th to 7th grade where I sang on two albums by the age of 12, was in advanced levels of chorus throughout all of my schooling and landed a few larger roles in musical theater throughout my middle school career - I still had a long way to go.
Growing up I was praised for my singing voice and got away with half committing to my singing because I allowed teachers to let me make excuses for being too busy with other areas in my life to put enough work toward my music. I felt like I knew what I was doing pretty well, but when I took a step back I realized I still couldn't harmonize on my own, and I still didn't play an instrument which meant I couldn't accompany myself. College taught me that despite knowing a decent amount, I still had a great deal more to learn.
In hindsight, I wish I spent much more time working on my music and taking it seriously prior to college. I wish I forced myself to sit down and get lost in my music instead of being caught up in activities or people that I wasn't going to be pursuing in the long run. I don't regret having made the choices I made because at the time they are exactly what I felt I wanted, but I definitely wish I worked harder and allowed myself to be much more open minded. I wish I let myself fall in love with the art of music and not be so hard headed as to what I thought I wanted. I closed doors to many schools with excellent music programs because I didn't want to study classical or jazz music only to get to my contemporary based program and study classical and jazz pieces anyway. I wish I explored more genres that I didn't believe I was interested in at the time and let my dad keep Led Zeppelin on the radio instead of asking him to turn those oldies off. Lastly, I wish I didn't let my fear of failure keep me from committing fully to my music. This is something I still struggle with but I have known for a long time music is what I want, and I wish I had challenged myself more earlier on.
I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone, whether that means listening to music you normally don't give a second thought or pushing yourself to perform for the first time. If you know what you love, do it and if you know you love it today, don't wait for tomorrow.
We often spend too much time wondering what other people think of us when we sing or share a new original song. Our imagination invents comments and criticisms from friends or fictional characters. The power of your imagination is strong but it’s important to stay grounded. When others listen to you sing, they will hear your honesty. Your song makes you look beautiful.