It was sometime back in 2013. I put in a call to the Nashville-based Grammy Award winning songwriter responsible for encouraging me to start gigging my songs. We’ll call him JV.
I called JV because I was in a writing funk. It felt like a 12-step call in AA, where my sponsor was talking me down off a binge. Only for me it was a dry drunk.
I told JV I was just struggling. I was in a funk, a rut. I hated what I was writing. I was tired of gigging. And I sought his advice.
Know what JV told me?
“Brad, I go through these times too. There Are times I’d rather vomit than write a song.”
I tell you that gave me some relief. But …
I’m sure there were other things JV said to encourage me to hang in and not give up.
But I only heard the quoted part above, at the time. What I did was turn my back on my first and longest running best friend … my guitar and my music.
What happened was, I lost the edge. And when I turned my back on it? The edge stuck me in the back.
I don’t blame it for stabbing me, I was the one who turned away. It was only trying to get my attention to come back.
Instead, I ran further away.
You know what this performing songwriting funk felt like?
Like an eight year old losing a baby tooth.
It was getting painful leaving it in. And the longer I left it in the looser and more painful it got.
And, even though twisting and yanking that sucker out gave me great relief … it left a big hole I couldn’t help but tongue every day since.
Only, with a kid’s tooth, a new one grows back in.
It took three years to grow a new gigging tooth and five years to fill in the songwriting dry socket.
I’m sure I’ll write more about this experience for any of you to learn from as well.
But the big lesson I learned is to forget waiting for the stars to line up for the perfect time to get back in the game. It will never happen and you’ll miss out on life.
Take a break from gigging. Even slow down writing if you need. But never give up completely. Never!
It’s a dark eerie place to be.
My wife told me, “You are a different person when you’re songwriting … I want that man back.”
Well, after three long years, I am back.
I’m looking at some of my old tunes and sitting down to write again.
I’m pleased with what I’m writing and the things I’m experimenting with.
So, if you’re funking out right now? Back off if you must, but don’t quit.
There was a time I sat at my writing desk and thought, “You know Brad? There is no way there’d ever be a time you won’t write or play. It’s just too damned good.”
I know better than to let sabbatical slip its foot in the door again. Instead I’ll throttle it back, but I’ll never quit. It’s too painful.
It’s like a nightmare you can’t wake up from.
Sleep tight my pretties.