A version of this article originally appeared on Symphonic Distribution.
In the internet age, with social media basically taking over our everyday existence, it’s easy to get distracted. On top of all of the issues facing our daily lives, we have to provide for ourselves and loved ones, so a day job or something substantial is quite important. How the heck are you going to find the time to continue expressing yourself through music, and also, how will you stay motivated?
Well, I’ve truly been there, and honestly, get stuck quite a bit. Being a business owner and running Symphonic Distribution brings me great satisfaction, but every now and then, I wish I had the time and energy to make music. Before I started in the business, I was a full-time musician, and now, it’s easy to hear what's out there and think, "I can’t make that type of music at all; I’m just not that good!" That attitude is downright unmotivational, but lately, I've been trying some tactics to start my musical juices flowing again. Here are some random, but helpful, things you can do to stay motivated and focus on music while also dealing with the daily drudge.
1. Set a schedule
I often hear people saying, "I’m just too busy," yet I see folks on Facebook, frankly, wasting time. I'm also guilty of pleading busy-ness, but if you don’t treat your music-making like a regimented activity, then you'll lose the fire and love of creating. Evaluate your obligations, and try to set aside one to two hours daily to experiment and explore musically. Wake up early if you have to in order to balance exercise, your job, and your music career, because if you treat it as seriously as you do your health, then perhaps you'll be able to generate a consistent musical workflow without losing motivation to explore.
2. Listen to what’s out there
Explore various genres of new music, but go back to old classics you love. Personally, I’m a major Plump DJs fan. I was honored to have them remix work I produced, and every time I listen to any of their tunes, it just gives me the drive and motivation to make music again. It’s something that can’t be explained, but listening to your favorite songs and artists really takes your mind away from everyday problems and replaces them with inspiration and creativity.
3. Explore new possibilities
There's a ton of sample websites out there, and I think it’s great for the industry. These sites allow folks that previously never dreamed of making music actually start their musical careers. The downside of this, however, is that sampling is completely unoriginal, and one key to staying motivated is exploring new technologies, sounds, and devices.
On top of this, we live in a world with seemingly limitless free and cost-effective apps that allow you to play with instruments on your iPad, iPhone, Surface, etc. Tinkering with those, you might discover new sounds and styles that motivate you to pioneer new and original music – without shelling out thousands to do it. Also, if you actually produce something of quality with these devices, you'll receive respect from your producer peers.
4. Be yourself when making music
I often struggle because when you’re in the process of crafting an album or a remix, you wonder, “Will people actually like the route I'm taking?” Instead of worrying what people might think, make music for yourself, because you want to, and because you like it. Sure, listeners may not dig your sounds, but it's much more rewarding for you to create a song that you truly enjoyed creating. If you repeat the process over and over, your music will continue to evolve as you explore new areas and possibilities. Don’t ever let anyone influence your material. Just do it, and do it because you want to have that making-music feeling – not just because people may want to buy it.
5. Believe that you can do it, and accomplish it!
I left this point for last, but it's really the first. Wake up every single day and say to yourself, "I will make music today," and actually believe that you will. It’s very difficult to balance everything accordingly, but if you invest in your material, then you'll keep the fire alive and start generating new songs. Take the music-making process one step at a time, and set a goal to accomplish the task at hand. If you visualize and attack, you'll set a plan in motion and, ergo, join a community of millions around the world that's expressing itself through the greatest form of art.
Jorge Brea is CEO and founder of Symphonic Distribution.