Songwriter Theory Podcast
Episode 24

Don't Wait For The Muse

Joseph Vadala published on

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I always thought the phrase “strike gold” was a bit weird. Or at least how it’s often used is. People use the phrase as if the person just happened across something super valuable.

It’s always used as if, in the gold rush, people were just hiking along, and happened to see a full bar of gold.

“Honey, I found the gold. We can retire now”

But that’s not how it worked then nor is it how it works now.

They had to travel across the country when it would take months. And there wasn’t exactly a highway system with McDonalds waiting at every exit.

Then they had to be resourceful and find the right spot.

Finally, they had to pan for the gold. And pan some more. And then keep panning. By the end of this, most of them still hadn’t become rich.

What is the point here? “Striking gold” isn’t just a stroke of luck. It requires a ton of work in the hopes that you may strike gold.

So you can’t just wait around for inspiration to strike. You have to write. You have to work at your craft on good days and bad days. Don’t wait for the Muse.

Success isn’t found by happening across it as you float through life.

It’s working at it, learning from mistakes and then working more. If you wait to write until you get a visit from the muse, it may never come.

Rely On Skills vs. Rely On Luck

Do you want your future success to lie on the shoulders of skills or luck?

Hopefully your answer was skills. That was the correct answer.

If you wait around for the muse, that’s putting your success on the shoulders of luck. The muse visits when it desires. Sometimes it will come every day for a week. Sometimes it will disappear for a year.

You can’t rely on the muse. Don’t wait for the muse.

We want our fate to rely on our skill at our craft. Because this is something we can work on and improve every day. This results in our work being worth it, as it is building our skill up every single time we work at it.

When you have worked on and developed your craft and the muse pays you a visit? That is when you have struck gold.

I’ll give you an example here. Let’s say you are in a drawing to get an autographed guitar. You have 5 entries into the drawing. So, you have a shot to win.

But the person next to you has 200 entries into the drawing.

How good do you feel about your chances now? I bet you’re thinking “aw man, how am I going to win when they have literally 40 times more tickets than I do?”

Now, it’s still possible that you’ll win.

But the chances aren’t great.

Waiting for the muse is like being the person with 5 entries. You don’t write when inspiration isn’t raining on you from heaven above, so you don’t write that many songs.

But the person with 200 tickets is the one who is working for it. They write every day. They write when they’re inspired and they write when they aren’t inspired. Sometimes they write until they feel inspired and then write some more. Not only do they have 40x more songs than you, giving them 40x more chances at success, but they probably have more muse-inspired songs than you.

Because, while you were too busy watching Netflix, hoping the muse would come in and say “hey, you haven’t been spending any time with me lately”, they were writing and the muse came over because they were working for it.

Be the person with 200 entries, not the one with 5.

 

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