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Ok, here's the other side of the coin to the 'I've done some stuff with my music I didn't think I would'....

I've really done nothing, accomplished nothing other than creating some tunes that nobody really has any interest in - publishers, contests, other writers, even fans of music. No one, maybe need a little more stress there, NO ONE is waiting for the next Steve Vaclavik tune.

So have I wasted my time and am I still wasting it? I could do this for fun, except I really can't. It doesn't seem part of my nature to just do it just to create. I seem to have to have something happen - good comments, accolades, better gigs - to keep me going.

Maybe I expect too much too quickly, but I didn't start yesterday. So when is it time to say I've put enough effort into this and accept that I'm really no good (as far as being able to make this work as a career)?

By the way, I'm not looking for folks to come to the defense of my creations. By just simply facing the facts, I'm not making any real progress. Right now I haven't really lost anything to this pursuit. I haven't lost a mortgage, my family or my sanity - yet. But it does take a physical, mental and emotional toll (at least on me anyway) to keep toiling along. And what if I were to take the leap of faith Tom suggested in the other post? The odds are certainly not in my favor - and based on past performance are pretty damn poor.

I'm kind of just venting here and kind of serious. If there's a rock in the way, sometimes you have to dig the hole somewhere else. (Yes despite myself I will probably turn that into part of a lyric...)

So how do you all deal with these times of self doubt and the question of whether the pursuit is worth the effort?

Steve V


Steve Vaclavik

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Long Grass And The Tall Trees Available now:

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'You probably don't like what I'm saying, or the way that it's been said. But my only goal has been to awaken some thoughts in your head.'
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Originally Posted by Steve Vaclavik

So how do you all deal with these times of self doubt and the question of whether the pursuit is worth the effort?

Steve V


Man, that's a tough one, Steve. For every person that gave up everything for music and didn't "succeed" there is probably someone who regrets not having "gone for it". I don't think anyone can answer that question (when is it time to stop the good fight?) for someone else.

As for the question I quoted above though: For me, I find that I will keep doing something (even if not "successful") as long as I'm passionate about it. If the passion goes away, I back off for awhile and see if it comes back. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't....

I'm not applying this to music, which I'm still passionate about. But there have been plenty of other things.

To put it another way, the definition of success for me is to be able to spend time doing things I'm passionate about. So that's the only question I really ever have to ask myself....

Just noticed this is in the Tampa Bay forum - I reckon I'm close enough geographically smile

Scott

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HiDee Bro Stevie!

OK, ya touched me with this one...I've PMed ya back...hope it got there.

Misery Loves Company...& I find ya a Loveable Guy..so maybe we can Co-Write Our Ways outta this mess?

I'll warn ya with Something You Already Know: Songwriting's as big an Addiction as any Opiate that's ever-been.

Only "Cure" I know is a Hit. Song.

Hopin' to Hear Back,
Best Wishes, Big Guy-Hug,
Stan

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Originally Posted by Steve Vaclavik
So have I wasted my time and am I still wasting it?


I just flew down to Tamps in one second to reply to this:

If you don't know that answer, then you never knew the pleasures of music, and might not fully know those pleasures until it's snatched from your reach.

Man, what I wouldn't give to just play my piano for five minutes again, never mind to create songs and play with my band.

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I think you have to carefully analyze what you want from your musical endeavors. If you will not be happy unless you have a hit record, it is probably just an exercise in frustration that is doomed by the odds which are about the same as winning the lottery.

If on the other hand, you enjoy the process, enjoy playing for people, enjoy jamming and rehearsing with your friends or your band, enjoy making a CD that will not sell more than a few copies, enjoy the fellowship of other musicians, then it is a worthwhile endeavor similar to playing amateur golf or tennis. Lots of people enjoy golf or tennis with no expectations of going on the tour or playing at Wimbledon.

Perhaps you need to approach it differently, or take a break, or play a different style, or play in different places, or meet different musicians and songwriters, get different types of gigs, etc. etc.

Shake it up!


Colin

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Thanks for all the replies....

I kind of knew I'd hit a nerve. Believe I appreciate what I'm able to do and wonder every time I write a song where it came from. But just like every thing else - jobs, relationships - we (or at least I go through down periods. Music has been a fun but tough mistress. Tom, I know the addiction - it's my drug of choice - I PMed you back...thanks!

Johnny, I hope I'm never in your situation. As I said in the other post I couldn't live without listening to music - playing I would miss, but would probably be ok. It's the listening to other thoughts, sounds that I need. I realize the gift....

Colin, I like the place I'm in stylistically, love the guys I'm with in the band. It's the probably the gig thing that falls a little short - always working on that.

Scott, I still have the passion. In fact that may be why I feel the way I do. I'm passionate that I'm doing something worthwhile and it sometimes seems hard to convince others of that.

Just a down day folks....

Steve V





Steve Vaclavik

http://www.stevevaclaviktwang.com
http://www.myspace.com/stevevaclavik

Long Grass And The Tall Trees Available now:

http://cdbaby.com/cd/stevevaclavik

'You probably don't like what I'm saying, or the way that it's been said. But my only goal has been to awaken some thoughts in your head.'
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I'm right there with you, buddy. To me, the whole key is that you have to be having fun. If you're not enjoying it, why do it? And like you, lately I'm enjoying it less.

It may be possible that you've gone as far as you can go with your marketing/sales skill set. That is not a put down - you're certainly better at it than I am. But I'm going to tell you this straight up and I'm not going to BS you - Your music is really good. Definitely good enough to gain a following and a name and sell CD's. If it's not happening, it's because of management, publicity, marketing, all those things.

Unfortunately all those things cost money and that can be a real strain. I'm not willing to do those things myself. I agonize over which guitar strap to buy.

I'm just saying that maybe you shouldn't beat yourself up over that stuff. To get back to the rock in the hole, sometimes you dig elsewhere but sometimes you can maybe hire someone to move the rock for you.


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Originally Posted by Steve Vaclavik
I've really done nothing, accomplished nothing other than creating some tunes that nobody really has any interest in - publishers, contests, other writers, even fans of music.


Well if you want to do this for a living, the question has to be asked: What are you doing to "up your game" and write/perform songs that forces folks to take an interest in them? I just spend a minute or two on every song you had at MySpace. Pretty good stuff -- but nothing that makes you stand out from the pack. I didn't see any lyrics anywhere, so I couldn't judge them, but they seemed relatively average (but without reading them, I really don't know).

My suggestion would be to start posting songs on the MP3 and ask folks to tear them apart. Maybe pay a few bucks and get some professional reviews/critiques.

If you are disappointed in the way your musical career is going, but you are not doing anything to change it, then you might as well give up now, save yourself the heartaches and make way for others.

Kevin


"Good science comes in peer reviewed journals. Conspiracy theories come in YouTube videos. "
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steve, every body goes through these down times, we soul search, "what am I doing? what am I doing this for?"
best story I know of is Brett James, great writer, met him a few times...he was goin' to school pre-med out west, sent a demo to nashville, got convinced to move to nashville, started makin' trips, moved there, made contacts,got a record deal, no hits, had his wife and now a kid there and kinda gave up and went back to med school out west while his wife and kid stayed there to try and sell the house...well like a week after he got settled in out west, things started happening...he got a Faith Hill cut, got another cut, in fact he got 25 cuts over the next 18 months, moved back to Nashville and many, many cuts later was a writer on "Jesus Take the Wheel" the huge Carrie Underwood Grammy winning Country Song of the Year mega hit- he's probably made a million bucks off that tune so far...at any rate I think we all have mountains and valleys in many aspects of our lives, and I know exactly how you feel concerning the writing and the playing, etc...I've felt the same emotions many times...but first off I love the creative process...I like entertaining people, hell I like entertaining myself when noone else is there to hear it yet...and deep down I think I'm a hit songwriter that hasn't had his first hit yet...and it's meeting people like Brett and interacting with you guys here and in my local scene that keeps me involved in something that I really can't imagine seriously hangin' up the cleats on...think it yeah, we all have, but do it, no man don't do it, music is a part of who you are, the music you create and share with us is something alot of people wish they could do...you're just in a valley man, you'll be on top of some more mountains soon...be well...moker

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I think I understand where you are coming from, Steve. It is not a wealth and fame thing, at least not in themselves. But, as I think Larry Ellison said, wealth and fame are more of a way of keeping score. There are many other ways to keep score. But there needs to be some very real sense of accomplishment, of actually making a difference.

I'm a very goal-oriented person. I get the most enjoyment from pushing myself in new directions and accomplishing things. I can't just do something for just plain old enjoyment because it soon gets boring and not so enjoyable if nothing new is happening and nothing is being accomplished. My whole life has revolved around pursuing various goals, many rather farfetched, but most to date I have accomplished.

That is a big reason why I quit my job as a design engineer. Even though I was very successful, I was also getting rather bored as everything started looking the same. By age 40, I had already accomplished all the goals I has set for my engineering career, goals most engineers never hope to accomplish over a 40 year career. I saw a future of just more of the same things I had been doing for years. I needed new challenges.

That is also why I lost interest in sports. Every season, every game, you are just starting from ground zero trying to do at least as well as the previous season or game. It is just a series of repeated efforts doing the same task. Nothing seems to ever be accomplished. Even if you win, you just end up having to try to do it again.

I'm really not into coasting. I want to be climbing, pushing limits. That is why I don't have a TV and don't do drugs or alcohol. My experience is that they are for coasting and usually keep you from climbing, or at least slow you down and distract you from your goals.

But, at the same time, I need goals that are actually achievable. The odds may be poor, but if I can see a path that is possible, I will make it possible. But if all I'm going to be doing is treading water with no hope for actually accomplishing something worth the time, money, and effort expended, I'll find other goals to pursue, goals that WILL make an impact and are worth the effort expended.

I've only been given one chance on this earth. I don't want to waste it on something that isn't going to go anywhere.


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I am living for the magic 3 minutes of yeehaw



not placement in a music licensing library-which is nice but till you hear it somewhere -well that aint it......unless a meteor drops on my bald little head-someday I will hear a song I wrote for coming out of a passing car's radio........or it will be playing in a Borders bookstore or being sung by a cover band in the honkytonks downtown.......and I myself live for those three minutes to the exclusion of everything else in life...........and believe me-I have nothing else.....I live at Ground Zero.....its all gone....everything......but crazy as I am I am happy cause I am doing what I want where I want and to hell with everybody and everything else..nothing else matters......it would all be nice to be sure......but the biggest successes in music have slept om the floor of liquor rooms down at the tonks......lived in cars or whatever.....you gotta be tough Steve-you gotta be insanely committed..........cause its likely that if you truly "got the fever" for doing all this -then nothing else matters.....if you wanna play it safe then put songwriting and performing in your rear view mirror and quit it all cold turkey...just give it all up.......but nobody in this business-at any level or function-ever made it by being logical and doing the right thing according to rules of normal lives and normal career pursuits........the music business is not for normal people from what I have seen in Nashville......better to be too crazy than not crazy enough from what I have seen....beat the Matrix my man.......or look for the exit door to it......your choice
whatever you decide-best of luck to you.........

Tom

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Originally Posted by Steve Vaclavik

So how do you all deal with these times of self doubt and the question of whether the pursuit is worth the effort?


I write a song about it!

smile God, and I'm not even kidding...

I feel for you, Steve, and there aren't many people here who haven't felt the same way in varying degrees. But never forget what brought you to music in the first place: music is beautiful.

Later on, we devise all sorts of goals...dreams and plans and adoring fans...some get where they want to go, and some wish they could have gone a whole lot further.

All I know is when I lay on my deathbed, I'm going to want to hear some beautiful music. Rich or poor, famous or invisible...it's about the music.

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Some good replies here, at least from my point of view. I hope some of them have been helpful. I think the basic question is what do you want, i.e. what is important to you. If you truly want your music to be your career (regardless of whether anyone else wants or doesn't want it), then what you have been doing so far has either been not what was needed or not enough of what was needed. If it was not the right actions, then you can research the successful actions of successful people. If it is simply a case of not enough of the right actions, then increasing the frequency/volume of any successful actions should bring you closer to your goal.



Steve Dockendorf
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True success in today's music business is directly relative to the number of adolescent girls in your audience.

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Unless you're playing an upright bass! Then, it would be how many musicians who will buy your CD are out in the audience. Music lovers would love that bass!

Very cool instrument! Heard a few up close at some past piano tuning jobs I did for some artists. Very expressive, and FULL bodied! NO mic either for some!


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Making a living solely through original music is beating some extremely large odds. It's a crazy bad risk, numbers wise. Having a day job and building up a local following is definitely a more realistic goal. But as I said earlier, it may take better marketing and promotion. Which will cost more money. Which you may not be willing to put into it.

Steve D. put it really well.


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I got caught up in 'how to feel miserable as an artist' (taken from Music Tampa Bay http://www.musictampabay.com/ who got from somewhere else...):

Personal Point of View

How to feel miserable as an artist

1.

Constantly compare yourself to other artists
2.

Talk to your family about what you do and expect them to cheer you on
3.

Base the success of your entire career on one project
4.

Stick with what you know
5.

Undervalue your expertise
6.

Let money dictate what you do
7.

Bow to societal pressure
8.

Only do work that your family would love
9.

Do whatever the client / customer / venue owner / patron / investor asks
10.

Set unachievable, overwhelming goals to be accomplished by tomorrow

Copied from the website of the Pinellas Musicians Coalition (link elsewhere on this page) author not identified. MTB Comment - can be applied to just about anyone engaged in any endeavor.

Actually I've always written for myself and always will. My songs have also been battle tested (performed in front of live audiences and have done fairly well) so I'm good with that.

Thanks for all the comments - I'm back on the horse....

Steve V


Steve Vaclavik

http://www.stevevaclaviktwang.com
http://www.myspace.com/stevevaclavik

Long Grass And The Tall Trees Available now:

http://cdbaby.com/cd/stevevaclavik

'You probably don't like what I'm saying, or the way that it's been said. But my only goal has been to awaken some thoughts in your head.'
Joined: May 2008
Posts: 44
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Posts: 44
Steve,

I'm being TOTALLY selfish here.....I would hate the Tampa Bay music scene that did not include Steve Vaclavik. You are one of the good guys that all of us want to see succeed and succeed you have....maybe not the way you would prefer right now. All I know is if you don't quit, you win. Most folks that do this don't make it because it's hard. They quit before the miracle happens. Cut yourself some slack and step away from it for awhile and regroup if you need to. No shame in that, buddy. When I get moved in to the new place, come down and spend some time in the "writing cottage". This isn't advice by the way....I'm not smart enough to give advice. This is my "take" based on my limited experience. Brang that twang, brother!


Working to craft better music and enjoying the ride.

http://www.myspace.com/robgorley
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 679
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Thanks Rob, appreciate it! Just went a little mental there for a little bit.....By the way, I'm on my way to sign up for the Songwriting Workshop.....

Steve V


Steve Vaclavik

http://www.stevevaclaviktwang.com
http://www.myspace.com/stevevaclavik

Long Grass And The Tall Trees Available now:

http://cdbaby.com/cd/stevevaclavik

'You probably don't like what I'm saying, or the way that it's been said. But my only goal has been to awaken some thoughts in your head.'
Joined: May 2008
Posts: 44
Serious Contributor
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Joined: May 2008
Posts: 44
Very cool...I look forward to seeing you down here on the 20th.


Working to craft better music and enjoying the ride.

http://www.myspace.com/robgorley

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