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Don't Dream It, Do It!
Don't Dream It, Do It!
by Janet Fisher, Goodnight Kiss Music

DEFINE THE DREAM
What is it you are actually trying to do? Be the world's best writer? Become a megastar performer? Lead the church choir? Own a record label that records other acts?

You would not believe how many writer/artists come to me, saying they just want to do "something" in the Music Industry. Sorry, you have to specialize a bit more than that!

Sit down with paper and pen. Define EXACTLY what it is in your heart that you dream of. (Hint, the bigger the dream, the harder to achieve...but as long as you are prepared to give what it takes, you'll find a place in the scheme of things.)

By the way, I have to do this, because I get sidetracked by wanting to do too many things. I constantly have to reassess projects and schedules...just part of business in a busy, busy world.

RESEARCH THE DREAM
Let's say you decided that you want to be a great writer, who is successfully cut on the charts, and makes a lot of money. Do you know what the real charts are? Who's on them currently? What labels are consistently charted? The styles of the top ten successes in the last two years?

Do you know what the actual elements of a great standard song are? Can you name the top sellers of all time in your genre? The top sellers of the current year? And do you know why they attained success? Do you hone your skills and knowledge whenever you have a chance?

Can you make the presentation of your art a commercial reality? Not just WILL you, CAN you?

PRACTICE THE DREAM
Go do 150 sit ups without practice. Go write a great song without practice. You have to practice (i.e., actually write) everyday, just like you would with any improvement program. If the newest song you are showing is old, you are not competing as a writer.

REWRITE THE DREAM
If something doesn't go the exact direction you thought it should have, rewrite the situation. If it's the song that has flaws, rewrite it until they are gone. If it's the voice, get some training.

If it's the gig, create one that works for you. (When I was playing gigs in KCMO, I went to the Plaza, to nice places that DIDN'T have entertainment. I'd offer the owner a free evening of music, if he liked it, I'd work X amount of weekends for X amount per night. I almost always got the gig, partly because I was prepared, partly because few can resist something for nothing and not sense some obligatory return. (Most wanted entertainment, but had no idea they could afford it. For me, it was a way to go.)

If you find that you thought you wanted the big dream, but then you realize that your dream didn't include all the nonsense that goes along with one of those in exchange for your "other dream(s)," (perhaps your family or job?), it is TOTALLY all right to adapt your dreams to accommodate each other. Unfortunately, some dreams require 24 hour dedication to maintain. (Ask any professional who is a megastar in their field.)

PURSUE THE DREAM
Don't give up. That's the first thing ANYONE successful who is giving advice says, so it MUST be true. (OK, it's pretty logical that if you DO give up, your odds will go way down...) What I'm really saying is leave no stone unturned. Take advantage of all opportunities, work, work, work at it.

LIVE THE DREAM
Remember that each time you sing, play, write, perform, discuss, pitch, etc., you are creating a reality that supports your dream. Don't forget to applaud the little steps, as well as the big. You write a birthday song for your sister-in-law, and it makes her cry with your kindness. Your song is used in a campaign for adoption, and though it didn't earn a dime, it was perfect, and said so much to so many. A peer complimented your writing at a recent song pitch. You were the hit of the community musical. GOOD FOR YOU! It all matters.

All these things make us more professional, and give us the reasons for doing the work. They are as important as the royalties, and enrich our life of music. Don't overlook them.

APPRECIATE YOUR DREAM
Did you know that most of your little steps are someone else's big dream? Some people would give a great deal to have the opportunity to perform ONE karaoke song in front of an audience...or have anyone use a song for any reason....or play a great guitar lick...or own a computer...or you name it. Appreciate the skills and opportunities God has blessed you with that you might even have a dream.

Just my opinion.

Janet Fisher

all rights reserved, no reprints without written permission. Janet Fisher is a longtime professional songwriter and publisher for Film and TV, author of the pop book, MUSIC HORROR STORIES, owner Goodnight Kiss Music (BMI), and a long time advocate of songwriters and intellectual property rights.

Manitoba Country Music Association