7 Things to Give Up in 2017

Amber Long

What can you give up to make 2017 your most creative year yet?

Each year, we light up with hope at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. It starts the week before as we reflect on our last turn around the sun. What did we do right? What did we do wrong? And without fail, as if the slate is magically wiped clean, we herald in the New Year optimistically and with renewed ambition. What did you learn in 2016? Here are my thoughts and resolutions and thought I’d share them with you.

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Give up thinking you have limitations.

Technically, you have nothing to lose in being 100% authentic in your creativity. You have way more to gain! When you lose your creative inhibitions, you find yourself in a vast expanse of possibilities and get a chance to explore what’s inside of you and what you’re really capable of. There’s a special kind of pride when you finish a project that’s uniquely yours. And to think it’s completely in your control!

Give up comparing yourself to others.

The fastest way to kill your creative drive is to watch what others are doing in comparison to you. We are only human and we don’t live under rocks so it’s hard not to notice successes when they go by. If I ever catch myself comparing myself to others, I examine who it is and what I admire about them. It usually shows me what I am missing in myself. The time you spend comparing yourself to others could be spent making your own music career better.

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Give up standing in the sidelines.

Get motivated and get involved, get moving towards achieving your goals. Yes, it’s intimidating to put yourself out there and start networking and it’s hard to go from, for example, party-goer to party-thrower but if that’s what brings you to life, then you have to do it. It’s a total hustle out there, get in the ring, it’s good for you. Talk to the labels you want to be on. Tell your favourite producers how much they’ve changed your world. Approach that venue about that dream event you’ve had brewing in your mind.

Get in it, all of you.

Give up listening or engaging in gossip by turning conversations around.

Guys, our little circle is small. Our musical family… It’s not six degrees of separation, it’s one. But as much as we think we know one another, each of us faces challenges we don’t speak of publicly. That’s why it’s important to be kind in our thoughts and words towards and about others. Gossip tears the scene apart and it’s sad because it’s mostly based on untrue things. If each of us stopped listening there’d be nothing left to say.

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Give up thinking you HAVE to do it on your own.

In this big, bad world, we are a tiny circle and ultimately our joint effort makes the underground spin. You’re never alone. There is a network of people out there you can ask for their input or advice. You can be digital pen pals with anyone you want and create relationships through a mutual interest – music. It often feels like a solo road, being an artist, but that’s because being an artist is such a personal thing. Who better to bounce an idea off than someone else who understands the struggle?

Give up the notion you CAN do it on your own.

Strength comes in numbers and diversity. As personal as our art and music is, never underestimate the power of having a solid support team. This can be mentors, other artists, our loved ones or even friends who have nothing to do with the music scene. We are individuals but we need others around us to grow. For a minute, imagine your supportive people aren’t there? Right, now where are you without them? Any success you have is partially the result of the support you’ve been given. Respect that, appreciate that.

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Lastly, can you please, please, PLEASE give up being so hard on yourself?

The majority of the world has a very basic life. I’m sorry, but not sorry, it’s true. Their lives are mapped out as to how they’re ‘supposed’ to be. But you, not you! You’re a musician, you’re an artist! That adds a whole new layer to life. While holding down everything else that the rest of the world holds down, you add on the next dimension of expression which comes with its own set of pressures. Not only are you trying to make sure your boss likes you at work so you can ask to dip out early for a gig in a few weeks but your late nights are filled with trepidation about your next release and how it will do, or where your new track will go, where it fits and if the clap is right and you’re tired of fighting with a disobedient kick. Then you’re making sure people are invited to your gig and start the hustle of promotion while picking tracks and preparing while you make your kids their macaroni and cheese. Seriously though, can we all please go a little easier on ourselves this year and our expectations? We need to see we are already Super Heroes and that it’s ok to chill or take breaks and need time for ourselves. We must know that our rivers of music won’t dry up if we have a creative block or need to handle our personal lives.

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If there is no you, there is no music.

Save a little of the love you pour out on others for yourself. Take the same advice you’d give your best friend and cut yourself some slack. You’re doing amazing to be here in 2017 and it’s been a marathon to get where we are. I wish for you all a prosperous and creative year. I know I talked about all the things you should give up on but the one thing you should never, ever give up on is yourself.

Cheers to you!

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