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How to Stay Motivated as a Musician

As musicians, we become everything from being euphoric after releasing an album to frustrated and unmotivated for a million reasons– not selling enough, not having gigs, not going anywhere and all the other things that make a career in music tough. We’ve all been there. And in those moments, it’s hard not to wallow in self-pity and doubt our choices.

Keeping the fire burning throughout your career is almost impossible. Feeling uninspired, burned out, unmotivated and wanting to give up are not signs that you actually are not going anywhere. These are very common feeling of any musician who’s been performing professionally for a long time. Though it might seem like a bad thing, feeling unmotivated is actually healthy and could put you to the next level if handled well. Here are some ways to get your mojo back and go back to your music career with more enthusiasm:

Realize that great things don’t come easy. Say it to yourself every single day. “Great things don’t come easy, great things don’t come easy…”. Start training your mind to be more patient again. Most likely, you’re disappointed because YOU KNOW that you’re really good, you’ve waited long enough, you’ve worked hard enough, networked like crazy, made the best website in the world…yet, here you are: Still in the same place. But the thing is, if you stop now, we are 100% sure you won’t get on top. Keep on moving but you can’t keep moving if you don’t have a healthy mindset.

Recall why you wanted it in the first place. Go back to that day when you finally decided to take your music seriously and become a professional musician. What made you decide to go to this path? Just going back to that time will give you some strength to hang on.

Read motivational stories of other artists. Doing this will give you the encouragement to keep pursuing your dream because that’s what winners do- never quit. Most of the time, we only see the glamour and fame of the artist and not the thousands of hours he has put in to get to where he is. Know more of what’s happening backstage so you’ll know you’re not alone in the hard-knock-musician-life.

Always remember, small steps are better than none. Slow down with the milestones or hits or sales for a few weeks because that might be the cause of your burnout. Take small steps. As long as you’re moving, you’re fine.

Have an easy Day Job. Maybe your day job is so stressful it’s as if you’re the CEO instead of a “regular guy”. That can cause a lot of stress to you in general which could make you prefer your bed over practice or marketing your stuff. If you really want to do this music thing full-time in the future, you have to be confident enough to choose a regular, no-brainer day job so you will still have enough energy and enthusiasm left for your music.

Talk or jam with other like-minded musicians.  When you hang out with other musicians, there is no way they will discourage you to pursue music. These are the people who understand you, the ones who’ve been there and done that (or felt that), and the ones who carried on. They will give you the boost that you need.

Stay away from people who don’t “get” artists. You know those people. You can talk to them, of course, but once they start giving you advice about how to have “practical” life choices as if your dreams do not matter and say something like “time to straighten up”, filter and don’t take their advice personally. For sure they mean well so try not to hate them. Just convert the negative to something positive to help you get moving again, in the same direction we hope.

Take a break. If all else fails, just take a break. Take your mind off music and meeting goals. There are those kinds of burnouts that need a lot of time to recover from. Take your time. Make sure that when  you go back, you’re loaded with good energy and enthusiasm. We also hope that by that time, you’d start to see music-making,even as a career, in a more playful way like you used to.
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