I’ve often heard it said that the greatest thing you can do with any goal or quest in mind is simply to begin. Just having the courage to start is a grand achievement. A willingness to try means being open to the possibility of failure, and/or being available to the responsibility success may bring. Each is scary in its own right.
Once started, the next great challenge in moving forward can be managing the unique mix of knowing when to roll up your sleeves to do the work and when to take your hands off the wheel so that the energy created by your efforts can take you where you need to go (as opposed to where you initially think you need to go). Just as it takes a lot of courage to begin, it requires a lot of guts to be able to get out of your own way once you’re going. The good news is that, once you’ve done those two things, the journey can be very rewarding.
I guess I’d like to be a better man
I guess I’d like to feel less afraid
I guess I’ll take a breath whenever I can
I’m often feeling just a little out-weighed
(Song: “One More Run,” 2000)
A few months ago, I wrote an article about my re-introduction to the world of social media, and Twitter in particular (you can read it, HERE). At that time, my intention was to start activating various online platforms (including this site, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn), to represent the many facets of what I do for a living and for my own enjoyment. With Twitter, I began by trying to share a variety of content, representing my marketing and business interests, while also referencing material I’ve read that’s inspired me along the way. And from time to time, I would also share a lyric line or two from songs I’d written. I kept at that for several weeks and then just watched for responses.
Initially, the song lyrics I would share were only from tracks that have been recorded and are available online or on CD. But that’s a pretty limited representation of what I’ve written over the years. And so, when I started to run out of “new” material to post, I started combing through volumes of older lyrics that have never been recorded. When I did that, something interesting began to happen.
A good guess, or destiny?
The right place or …
The wrong dream?
(Song: “Right Place, Wrong Dream,” 2002)
After I’d posted a few of my own unpublished lyrics, I began to receive responses from people online. It was somewhat strange at first to see people marking something I’d written – but never recorded – as “favourites” or “re-tweeting” them out to their followers. People began to send me messages asking if I had written the things I was sharing.
Never did I imagine I’d ever gain anything back from some of the songs in that way. I had always just assumed that a song had to be “finished” and recorded in order to be worthy of sharing. And these aren’t even really songs I’ve been posting. They’re just individual lines that, for one reason or another, have stood out to me as worth sharing. But, after having the initial courage to get started, and the wisdom to let the process become what it wanted to, I’ve found it incredibly rewarding.
Another thing that this process has given me is a growing catalogue and timeline of my own thoughts. After I’d posted lyrics for a few months, I began to scroll back through my own Twitter feed, feeling very much gratified at what I was seeing. Previously, all these thoughts and lyric lines have existed only either in my head or in binders squirreled away at home. Now, many of these observations are available to anyone who would like to see them, and it’s been rewarding to see some people respond in a positive fashion. It’s been equally (if not more so) gratifying to revisit my own words and reinterpret them with the perspective I’ve now attained.
Meantime, a similar approach has not yet gained any real traction on Facebook, and the full, recorded songs that are published on YouTube have not seen much traffic. Nor, however, have I given them much promotion, but I’m admittedly surprised to find Twitter the most rewarding of any of the other digital places where I’ve invested my time so far.
Let’s sail up to Complacency and cannonball its port
(Song: “A Pirate’s Life,” 2003)
So where do we go from here? I’m not entirely sure. But at least I got started, and am now enjoying the journey.
I also want to say thank you to all the very kind people I’ve heard from on Twitter. The feedback has been a lovely thing, and has stoked the fire for me to want to explore the possibilities of my own creativity even more.