You may notice it while you are sitting down to practice. It may happen while you are listening to the Spotify playlist of your most favorite jams. It might happen randomly at the gym. It’s a voice that says things like, “I wish I could write a song like that.” This voice wants you to just quit writing altogether. It makes you feel like you know nothing about music or that you aren’t creative enough. It even has the audacity to say people will judge that exact word you just wrote down.
I have been there myself and it feels like being stuck in a dark deep hole. When your passion or purpose is shot down by, well, the very person who creates it — you — it’s like stabbing yourself in the back. It is the worst feeling on earth and I am here to offer some solutions.
Let’s first identify what that voice is. Sometimes it helps to give it a name and a few I have heard are Mean Girl, Cursor, or even Satan. The list can go on and on but no matter what name we give it, what it speaks are false narratives. False narratives are words or phrases that speak to us in order to protect but, in contrast, stops us from living our lives to the fullest.
My first suggestion comes after a recent experiment I had during practice. I sat down at my bench and kept my free-writing notebook nearby. Anytime I heard the false narratives, I would jot down what they said. Then, at the end of my practice, I would look over the list and find similarities and place them in categories. For me, they fall under three categories: wanting to be accepted by peers, making an impact or great art, or insecurities about my musicianship or lyric writing skills. Your list might be different. When I identify these false narratives I am then able to provide an antidote: affirmations.
Affirmations are repeated phrases to help guide yourself to a better state of mind. I first heard about affirmations through a healer in 2013. She helped me develop daily affirmations to guide me towards finding love for myself. At that time in my life, I had spent most of my time caring for others and neglecting myself. At first, it was hard to believe what I was saying but over time I was able to re-wire my thought patterns and I became stronger and more in love with myself.
A simple Google search will help you find affirmations but I highly suggest finding the ones that counteract your false narratives. For example, if the narrative you hear is “I will never be good enough” I offer an affirmation of “I am good.” Or if it says, “They are going to think this sucks” repeat, “I am supported and valued.” I like to write affirmations on my bedroom mirror or a dry erase board so I can catch a glimpse of some positivity throughout the day. In my course, The Songwriter’s Process, there are six affirmations, one each for the corresponding module.
In conclusion, it is important to listen to the narratives as we play and write, give them a name, and point them in the right direction so you can remain focused and creative.
Download a complimentary worksheet here to keep on hand while you write and keep false narratives at bay!