How to Bounce Back from Discouragement as a Musician

By: Carley Varley

When was the last time you hit a wall and got discouraged as an artist?

As creatives, it is very easy to feel discouraged when you put a lot of hard work into you projects and you don’t get the feedback you hoped for or perhaps the recognition you felt you deserved.

It can be difficult to feel encouraged in this day and age, especially with social media making us think that everyone else seems to know what they are doing and that they are doing so much better. I myself have felt this way many times throughout my career and today I’m going to give you my top tips to feeling more encouraged as an artist.

1. Go somewhere that inspires you.

When I feel discouraged…

and like my journey as an artist is quite stale, I go straight to this forest that I live by just to sit and soak up some quiet. It helps me feel better and is my safe space to reflect. I don’t always take my guitar but I always take my phone to record any songs or melodies that pop into my head. I’d recommend this to any artist and it does help you to feel more encouraged if you go somewhere that inspires you, this can often spark creativity and makes you feel better

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2. Have a ME day.

I watched a video the other day…

that said that for creatives you never really switch off and so your brain is working and thinking of how to be creative all the time. I really found this interesting and also found it to be very true, I never switch off. One thing that helps me switch off and feel less discouraged is when I have a ME day, it’s a day where you do nothing to do with your art, instead you go out with friends, sit at home and play games or take yourself out to the cinema and for dinner.

It may sound silly but having a day where you actually actively switch off can help you feel like you are taking a break rather than falling behind due to feeling discouraged. It certainly works wonders for me and its so good to treat yourself every now and then. As creatives we work constantly and so giving yourself a break is a great way to feel better and less discouraged by the pressures that come with being an artist. 

3. Message Your Friends

… or family or fans and tell them how you feel.

This tip is another one that I cannot recommend enough, it does require being quite vulnerable and honest. If you feel discouraged, let those around you know, don’t just sit on your feelings and think that you have to hide. Those around you that admire you will want to help and encourage you and so let them do this by telling them how you’re feeling.

I remember when I was writing my EP, I felt really bad about one song on it and I felt super discouraged. It bothered me for weeks and then I finally messaged my friend and mentioned it in passing and he told me that if I didn’t like the song that was okay and to change it.

I hadn’t written anything in weeks because…

I’d be moping around at how bad of a songwriter I was because I was stuck, when all I had to do the whole time was ask someone to encourage me and give me some advice. Having people around you who build you up is so important, so make sure to tell those around you if you need encouragement.

4. Watch new shows and music you love!

If I have a down day…

or a day where I’m struggling to feel inspired, I watch shows that I really enjoy. Artists often take inspiration from the things they see and hear and so watching something you enjoy can help inspire you and encourage you. One of my favourite songs that I’ve written came from me watching an episode of The Vampire Diaries, I just decided to rewatch it when I was feeling really uninspired and then my song was born and I released it a few months later.

I also wrote it so quickly because…

the shows characters gave me a lot of ideas to work with. This can also help with your relaxation time too if you want to tune out for a bit before you go back to creating again. This is also true of listening to the artists you love and going to their concerts, whenever I go to see a show I always feel inspired and I feel encouraged because I’m thinking ‘wow I want to do that one day!’ I want to perform on a stage to hundreds of people and have them singing my songs back to me.

These are my top tips today, if you’ve been feeling really discouraged as an artist I hope these tips have helped you and give you something to try. Thank you so much for reading/listening. 

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