The other day, I received two very awesome books in the mail. One of them was Ariel Hyatt’s “Music Success in Nine Weeks.” Soon after receiving the book, I checked out the book’s official website, and found a blogging competition. After reading through the rules, I immediately thought, “Wow, I actually might have a shot at winning this.”
I will be playing Ariel’s game for the next nine weeks, posting one blog a week that displays my efforts in completing the tasks that she has laid out so vividly in her book. Although I am in a band, we are currently inactive (writing and recording heavily at the moment). So for this competition, let’s pretend that we are still actively touring and spreading the word about our music. It should be a fun experiment! And at the end of nine weeks, we should have a really solid plan moving forward once we are done recording.
Being a former employee of Ariel Publicity & Cyber PR, I felt almost an obligation to participate in the blogging competition that Ariel hosts annually. So here we go!
Week One: Getting Mentally Prepared
During high school and college, I despised writing for my classes. Whenever another term paper assignment would be thrown in my face, I would absolutely cringe and wish I was back in elementary school, or in a different country where term papers didn’t exist or matter. I think I acted this way because I viewed the assignment as just that — an assignment. I would be given very specific instructions on how to write, what to write about, and who it should be directed towards. Because of all these restrictions, I never stopped to consider the possibility of being bold or creative, and having fun with the assignment.
Ariel stresses that exact notion in the second sentence of this chapter, and it is now serving as a constant reminder that assignments can be done creatively, similar to the creativity that occurs during the songwriting process.
I have always been one to flesh out my ideas and my goals whenever they come to me, so this advice is nothing new for me. I currently use these notebooks to help me keep track of the different projects, tasks, and ideas that enter and exit my life.
For newbies, Ariel suggests that you write down at least 5 small successes per day. For the sake of the blog competition, and the exercise, below is a list of 5 small goals that I have reached today:
She also recommends picking six focus areas to file your goals under. Here are six areas that my bandmates and I commit to (almost) daily, and some goals listed for each:
- Creativity: Commit several hours a week to write songs, record and mix, and brainstorm ideas for our live shows.
- Health: Find time during the week to work out individually, and stay committed to a schedule.
- Marketing & PR: Compile a list of contact information for relevant blogs, industry people, recordings studios, booking agents, and others that might be helpful to our career down the road.
- Education: Read up on music industry blogs to stay current, inspired, and informed.
- Musicianship: Commit several hours a week for listening to new music, practicing our instruments, and learning new instruments.
- Socializing: Hang out with friends, meet new people (online and offline), and constantly be talking about the newest and coolest thing we are doing as a band.
Keep Separate Lists
Another great suggestion I came across in this chapter is to keep separate lists of your goals, based on different aspects of your life. Don’t let general life goals invade the same notebook that you use to write down your music career goals. This way you can pick up one notebook, and see a bunch of goals related to one particular topic, and you can stay better focused that way.
You can keep it all separate by using several notebooks & labeling them “Lifelong Goals,” “Work Goals,” “Music Goals,” “Money Goals,” etc. Personally, I have several of these small notebooks, and I label them “Work,” “Blog,” “Band,” and “Working Out.”
That wraps up Week One for me…lots to take in! The main thing to remember, though – simply writing down your goals makes you three times more likely to achieve them. Get writing, scribe.