When to Give Up on Your Musical Dream
Sometimes, having a passion can be as depression as it is exciting. Navigating the choppy waters of the music industry is tough, to say the least. Maybe you’ve just started out, or maybe you’ve been at it for five years and find yourself bleeding money without gaining any clout as a musician.
It’s completely ok to quit a dream - one dream doesn't’ t manifest some deep, existential definition of your identity. In fact, quitting can sometimes be better for your mental health than chasing a dead end.
If you’re struggling with your current goal, learn how to tweak its context, and use all the tools in your toolkit. Be resourceful! Not everyone in the music industry is a famous rockstar, but they still manage to thrive within their niche, which there are hundreds of within music. Maybe songwriting or singing didn’t work for you, but there are still tons of behind the scenes positions for you to man, such as producer, tour manager, A&R, or audio engineer.
If you’re sure that you still want to invest in your passion, but are having trouble juggling life’s other obligations, transition it into a part time hustle. Nights and weekends can be dedicated to music, so that you don’t need to make financial sacrifices or risk your job.
It’s a stereotype and myth that if you want to succeed in music, you have to go all in and spend every living moment breathing it. But it is true that drained energy and an inability to take care of yourself (which that can result in) can make you even less productive. There’s nothing worse than resenting your own dream. Instead, master the art of patience and remember that nobody has overnight success.
At the same time, you get what you put into it. You’re the only person who can accomplish and prioritize your goal, so set reasonable goals and step-by-step accomplishments as you steadily (not manically) put in work and always move forward, no matter how slowly that is.
If you’ve been mostly focusing on branding over your sound, production, and lyrics, it might be time to call it quits. The substance of the music is what matters the most, and work in marketing might be your niche instead.
Remember that sometimes, quitting is the bravest choice. You can always discover a new dream. But if giving this one up makes your heart ache to much, there’s nothing wrong with taking a break and coming back with a fresh set of eyes to help clarify your feelings about it.