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I'm not getting booked for any shows... but everyone around me is playing out every weekend. My songs aren't getting any new streams, but I watch as artists around me easily pass the "1000" mark on Spotify. I haven't written a new song in a week, but all my friends have a different cowrites scheduled every single day. Am I the problem?
Rejection IS the entertainment business. Everywhere you go there's a new professional telling you you're not good enough, you're music isn't commercial enough, you're not physically attractive enough, etc. Most people get numb to it... even I get numb to it. Still, the constant stream of rejection suppresses itself into my subconscious, and I constantly feel anxious... like all the time.
Maybe it's not so much getting rejected but rather the time in between each rejection. I reach out to new venues with the end goal of scheduling a show. Obviously, this would be a lot easier if I had a larger fan base, and more of a guarantee that the venues would fill up and make actual money, but in order to gain a fanbase, I need to have played lots of shows... this is a great example of a catch22 and how getting started in the music industry is so damn hard.
Anyway, for me the anxiety starts after I finally press "send" on an email. I wait days and days for a response and 90% of venues don't ever get back to me... but it's the wait that gets me. Every single day I have to check my email and see that no one responded. It feels like a new rejection every single day from the same people... so how do I deal with it?
I'm not a professional psychologist, and this may sound ignorant, but what works best for me is just not thinking about it. I do this by keeping as busy as I can at all times. I fill my time with so much work that I forget I even sent out any emails, and I try to limit myself to checking my email every few days.
What works even better for me is focusing on the positives... some venues actually do get back to me, and even if this never leads to a show, the idea that someone takes me seriously enough to respond is actually really comforting.
I try to keep a note in my phone of all the nice things people have said about my songs. I do this by writing down everything anyone says to me thats remotely positive. To some, this may seem kind of pretentious, but to me it's a way to ensure that I'm doing this for a reason—there is an end goal, and I am slowly (but surely) making my way there. It also helps because whenever I'm sad; I'm reminded that some people do really care about me, and more importantly they care about my craft, and that's really refreshing.
I know this may sound hard to grasp but we're all in this together. Whether you're trying to make it in the music industry, or any other industry, we all have to start somewhere, and at times it may feel like we're not moving, but every season of your life is there for a reason. Try to take the uneventful days to become stronger and better as a professional, rather then stress out about every rejection.
I heard somewhere that the road to getting where you want to go, is a lot more exciting than the actual end goal. I can't for sure say if this is true, but maybe one day I'll be selling out stadiums and I'll remember back to my anxious days, and wonder why I worried so much. Or maybe I won't make it anywhere—I'll still be filled with all the memories of dreaming about something greater, I'll still be able to say that I truly gave it my all,
Anyway sorry if my articles don't have much factual or statistical information, I'm more writing these to encourage myself and others to be positive.