As seen on Discmaker’s Echoes Blog.
Every day I wake up and say “okay, what am I going to do today that will push my career forward?”. The worst feeling is when I can’t answer that question. I’m at a point where I feel like I’ve reached out to all of my contacts, tapped out my fans, and done everything I can think of doing. I know there is more to be done and I don’t know what it is, and I’ve reached some creative-career exhaustion that’s making me not want to do anything anyway. Long story short: I’m stuck.
When I was writing my E-course “In The Key Of Success: The 5 Week Jump Start Strategy”, I knew there was this big question I wanted to answer, not only for myself, but for other independent artists making a go at a career in music: “How do I bust through this [expletive] plateau?”
To me, hanging out in a stage of “plateau” is the equivalent to being stuck, writer’s block, career block, overwhelm, breakdown, and other phrases and words that describe this less-than-desirable state of career-being.
I speak from experience here. The short list below is something I’m currently using to break out of my early 2012 plateau. It is derived from patterns of breaking through past plateaus as well as things I do now that get me results (getting results may not elevate you out of a plateau all-together. I am getting results in my career but am still in a plateau…)
My experience of the “plateau”: My first record came out, and I was packing shows, selling albums, and seeing exponential increases in my mailing list signups over the first year. Then the first plateau hit- I was no longer a novelty to my friends, family and local music community. I hired a PR company. I changed up my live show. I took actions and asked for help. And I learned that anything I could possibly do to get un-stuck falls into these two categories.
And that’s it. The answer to the question “how do I bust out of this plateau?” is super simple:
1) Get into action.
• Set up to- do lists and put each item in your calendar. And stick to it!
• Make a schedule for yourself and stick to it!
• Give yourself time for breaks.
• Give yourself time to make booking, pitch and other important phone calls.
• Give yourself time to be creative. Start writing your next hit.
2) Ask for help.
• Get a few friends to keep you accountable each week to the things you say you want to do.
• If you can afford it with either money or trading services, hire someone to help with booking, PR, or anything else you’d like help with. Also look to local colleges for interns.
• Ask for help in other areas of your life.
Getting into action is simple if you know what to do and just don’t want to do it. You gotta pull yourself up by the bootstraps and get a move on. Period. If you are not sure what to do to start taking actions that will be effective and yield results then head to #2.
You can also head to #2 if you’re like me right now and just exhausted by the routine of making booking calls, researching music supervisors, and the whole pounding-the-pavement schpeal. And that’s okay. It happens. If the phrase “taking action” makes you want to curl up in a ball an not come up until September, there’s another option: ask for help.
Help can come in lots of different forms and it’s not saying anything less of you to ask for it. This time around, I’ve signed on with a group of music professionals that specialize in PR and artist development to explore new possibilities with my musical endeavors. For you, it may be hiring an intern to do booking calls, asking your spouse to do some of the household work for 1 week while you give yourself a week to rejuvenate and recommit to your career. It may be purchasing an inspiring book or taking on completing my E-course.
Looking outside yourself for motivation is ultimately how you can create it for yourself.