I'll give you a little background on myself if the rest of the people will indulge me. Most of them have known many things about me over the years, but there are always new people reading or just joining. So I try to provide the reasons WHY I have arrived at the positions I take. Anyyone uninterested, scroll on past.

I grew up performing in the 70's. March 17, 1974, to be exact. I fell in love with performing the songs of the Eagles, Skynyrd, Kiss, Styxx, most of that era, and then going backwards and learning about the BEATLES (Always impressed the ladies, which is why I started doing this in the first place.) Starting "writing" (If you could call it that, in the mid 70's and have been doing it most of my life.A band I was in in the 80's won a Nationwide Battle of the Bands sponsored by MCA records and Miller Beer. At that time, I was into the music of the 80's Journey, Boston, Foriegner, etc. and that was what our bands patterned after and the "corporate rock" genre of that day.

But things change. Bands break up, as ours did. And music changes,drastically. The corporate rock, big vocals harmony clean lyrics and singable songs, all changed, first to the Heavy Metal Band of the Week, then Seattle Grunge, then hip hop and rap. All of that turned me off incredibly and the music of Exile, Alabama, Lee Greenwood, and many others attracted me. I always had an affinity for country music. A lot of what people talk about here, Cash, George Jones, and others always intriqued me. Big voices. So that drew me to Nashville and meeting some people with experience in the town, taught me elements of country songwriting. And what I had been doing, Eagles, Skynyrd, etc. had gravitated to country. So my move came pretty easily.
But often music will change around you and you either adapt or die.

I moved to town April Fools Day 1988, made the connection for my first cut on SHELBY LYNNE, my first night in town. Things happened to me all the time. Development deals, record deals, publishing deals, etc.and I was in the thick of everything, writing with hit writers, doing demos, performing a ton, and just being myself. But again music changed over and over. The more country blues and rock, were supplanted by Garth Brooks and the more traditional country rock. And while I still participated and felt comfortable, getting some cuts, and getting close, I never got all the stars to allign like many of my contemporaries did.

As the age limit came in (I was 28 when I moved to Nashville) and the artist thing was no longer viable, I switched more to expclusviely writing. again got cuts and had deals, until the end of the 90's, when the deals and money in music started running out. Thank you Internet. So I reinvented myself again as a teacher/coach and mentor for writers and artists. Hundreds of people, and a very few went on to varying degrees of success. I never focused as much on the industry success as much as being competent and gratified with your own creative input. I am as interested in someone being the big fish in their little pond as anyone trying to move to Nashville for the brass ring. This is all part of the "reinvention" we all have to do as things change.

I came to sites like this by invitation of people who met me, worked with me, told others, etc. And that's where I am today. I'm sort of semi retired, in that I no longer fight much in the trenches of the business, but I still work with people who do. And that is my advice on getting past the road blocks. This is how I look at it.

If you write a song by yourself, you gratify yourself and maybe friends, but you only have you to help on it, promote it. And to me, it's not as much fun. I can write them all day by myself, but it is the energy, ideas and challenges other people provide that really motiate me. I bore me. But creating something with someone else that they could not do themself and teaching them something about the process means everything. So getting around other people in person made all the difference to me and always helped me avoid the roadblocks because by helping others, it helped me help myself.

If you were to be around some writers, online, in person, that helps you get out of your own way. You have experienced some here as people offer you perspective on your own questions and work. This usually leads to the lifeblood of writers, artists. If you were to have one or more artists, you would write different songs, help you in discovering things about yourself, and hopefully propel yourself to places you couldn't get yourself. And while it doesn't always lead to money and accolades, it beats what you are doing by yourself. It can be fun and give you your own sense of accomplishment.

An example on my own life are the things that happen continually that are kind of fun. Last night, while just randomly viewing YOU TUBE, a video came up on my feed. It was a Chicago morning television show, called "Windy City Live." Performing on the show was my friend and co-writer Jim Peterik, doing a song I had written with him and hit Nashville writer Joie Scott. It is called "Blue Storm Rising" and is performed and recorded by his band, IDES OF MARCH. You may remember them from the 70's with the song 'VEHICLE'. They are a 9 piece horn band ala Blood Sweat and Tears and Chicago. The song is really cool, with great lines, and Jim sings it with the current lead singer, of JEFFERSON STARSHIP, Cathy Richardson. It is really great to hear something you had a hand in being done in that format.

Will it make much money? Doubtful. They are a 55 year band, and are not going to get mainstream radio success. Does it matter? Nope. And as a plus, I perform in my own 10 piece horn band and we'll probably do that song now. But that is really what music is. Doing stuff and seeing where it ends up. You take your victories.

So for me, it is all about getting around other people. Challenging yourself. Approaching it responsibly and being true to yourself. And that helps you get past the roadblocks.

I apologize for the length of this and not trying to be self serving. But I think it does apply to reinventing ourselves, taking our own experiences,applying them to different situations, and each day moving a little forward down the road. This can apply to the original topic of Andy's writing tips. Andy himself makes trips to Nashville and we have met on several occassions. Things he talks about apply to that upgrade, education, finding new avenues and continually developing what you do. In country, it's still a lyric dominated format, so learning as much as you can about that, is very important. But to me, the MOST important is meeting and working with other people. To me, that is how you get past the roadblocks.

That's my take.