You don’t have to hit a home run every time – just show up

What? A song about baseball?

I don’t know very much about baseball, but I often hear baseball metaphors and I quite like them. One of my favourite pieces of baseball-related advice is that you don’t have to hit a home run every time. I’ve even heard a related one about not swinging at every ball (or did I make that one up?).

Not trying to hit a home run every time may sound like you lack ambition but maybe it could be put more accurately as “don’t think you have to hit a home run every time”. That sounds better – we now have permission to write songs and not demand they all have the makings of number one smash hits.

Permission to do it

Why is this important? Because if we start each song thinking that it has to be brilliant we are going to put a lot of pressure on ourselves. As soon as it becomes apparent that this may not be our “My Way” we might abandon it if we have this mindset. Having permission (from ourselves, of course) to write as many songs as we are able and to expect some of them not to be very good means that we get a lot of practise, and not only does that make perfect but it is also how you get to Carnegie Hall, apparently.

You have to show up

So here’s the key as it appears to me. Write, write, write all kinds of songs and don’t be discouraged if they aren’t brilliant. Develop the skill and craft to finish each song – beginning, middle, end, verses, chorus, bridge and all. When Diane Warren started off she used to write three songs a day on average and she says, “they all sucked”. Diane says that “showing up” is the secret to success and she seems to be pretty successful. If you just dream and don’t show up nothing is going to happen. It’s showtime now – so get on with it.

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