Endings Can Be Beautiful
Sunday, a beautiful ending to a very long week.
As I sit in the midst of sunshine seeping into my living room (it’s a fairly mild day for a Midwest winter) I can’t help but cozy up to the sweet enchantment of a peaceful Sunday afternoon. For quite some time, these few hours have been filled with periodical healing—a time to reflect, relax, renew, and enjoy the stillness of a completed week before Monday jumps into the picture.
Most Sunday afternoons I have a few things to look back on: a collection of thoughts from the work week, simple experiences that entertain new ideas for Monday’s blog post, and small milestones that only one week can bring. Once in a while I find my body to be a little bit more tired than usual, as I soak in the celebration of the end of a very busy, fulfilled week. Without a doubt, this past week was definitely one of the latter.
Monday morning, I was greeted with the beginning of a very big challenge, writing 5 songs in 5 days, a lovely creative venture hosted by SongFancy—an inspiring blog dedicated to all things songwriting.
Over the course of five days, I spent early mornings gathering inspiration for the daily prompt, crafting new lyrics, navigating my way through a melody accompanied by various chord progressions, putting final touches on a finished song, and topping off my afternoon by hastily recording/capturing the song on my GoPro before rushing off to work.
Not only was this challenging in the sense of putting out new material every day, but I found that the more that I put out the music for a multitude of ears to hear, the more I was being pushed out of my comfort zone.
Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.
Tuesday evening I was immediately greeted by one of my voice students with, “You look nervous, what have you been up to?”
Even though I’ve released music before, I still get anxious over how the listener will receive it. Music is transparent, and at times, very vulnerable. Moreover, this makes freshly written songs difficult for me to share. I will gladly admit it: I was nervous to post each and every song inspired by the challenge.
My nerves were so apparent that even my student had caught on!
Whenever you're pursuing your passion, a step in right direction will start to draw you out of your comfort zone. Your dreams hold a lot of weight, and it can be nerve-wracking to risk the chance of failure.
Celebrate every tiny victory.
When I finally settled on a main theme or decided on a hook for a song, the rush of victory felt exhilarating. It is vital to celebrate our victories, no matter how big or small they may be.
As you slowly walk towards what you’re aiming for, each step is forward motion—isn’t that beautiful?
From the very first cup of coffee in the morning till the moment I powered down my GoPro and watched the upload finish on my computer, every little victory filled me with energy the energy to wake up excited to continue.
Never look at how long it will take.
Don’t count the minutes as time rolls by, tempting anxiety to halt your progress.
I hit a wall Thursday morning, just a little over half-way through the challenge. I spent four hours trying to hash out a song, until I realized that the words weren’t going to come.
I leafed through four or five pages of songwriting gibberish, and finally decided to set down my notebook, put my guitar back in its case, and retreat to the living room to watch Netflix.
The more effort you pour into your project, the more rest your body requires to recuperate.
If I had counted the hours between Thursday and Friday, holding the finish line over my head like a verdict, I wouldn’t have written two songs Friday afternoon. In fact, I probably would’ve spent Friday morning panicking over my negligence.
I always tell my students—if it takes ten years to write a hit song, would you still write for ten years before finally writing the hit song?
The answer is always yes.
Is what you’re doing today getting yourself
closer to where you want to be tomorrow?
After each Sunday afternoon in your week, there will always be a Monday—it’s inevitable.
Taking Sunday afternoon to reflect on how your week was spent isn’t just innocuous, it’s a litmus test to see how you’ve been using your time.
The more I fill up my week with things that push me towards my goals, the more at peace I feel at the end of the week. At the end of this songwriting challenge, I’m not only leaving inspired and filled with energy to continue—but with so much more left to learn.
Endings aren’t just the calm after the storm, but something truly beautiful—just the beginning to every new adventure.
Below are three of my five songs from the 5 in 5 Song Challenge. I would love to hear what you think of them!
If you're a songwriter, or even an aspiring songwriter that needs a push to start creating, I would encourage you to visit SongFancy and check out the many resources--books, courses, and the 5 in 5 challenge--the website has to offer.