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Thinking positive doesn't mean fooling yourself: Building Success

Thinking positively doesn't always come easily for me.

Brain fog
Einstein famously said, "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them."

I grew up in a family of hillbillies in East Tennessee, and as the saying goes, if you ask somebody how they're doing, you'd best pull up a seat.

My dad fought his tendency to be negative, and largely blamed / credited my grandma for passing it down.

Grandma and Grandpa Williams

As I've gotten older, I've tried all kinds of techniques to think more positively, but being a pragmatist, and of the particularly small generation known as X, it's ever so easy for me to slip into cynicism or let my mind leap to the worst scenarios.

In my songwriting career at least, there was cause for cynicism, at least at first.

I graduated from a prestigious music business school with my honors degree the same year Napster came out and made purchasing music irrelevant to most people.

None of us knew for a long time the real impact the digital revolution was going to have on our lives and livelihoods as songwriters and creative artists of all kinds, but over the 20 years between my graduation and now, we have all seen the effects, for better and worse.

In about 2010, I had seen enough of the infighting and shrinking opportunities from traditional sources, and decided it was time to retreat into the woods to homeschool my twins.

But I didn't leave the music industry at that time.

Far from it.

During my time in the wilderness, I worked with songwriters from all over the United States and around the world, learning their challenges, developing resources to help them climb from wannabe aspirants to published songwriters and recording artists.

At first, we called it Hillbilly Culture Club, because it was an offshoot of my music publishing house, Hillbilly Culture LLC. HCC was a development program, a farm team you might say, for working as a staff writer in a professional music publishing company.

Now 10 years after our initial launch, I am proud to say that my group of Songpreneurs is thriving, and about to start our 2020 first quarter course this week.

Long time student and now signed Hillbilly Gold (ASCAP) writer Pete Garfinkel recently told me, "I guess I don't know what I don't know," about struggling to make a tough decision with his intellectual property rights.

Isn't that the real problem for most of us, most of the time?

We think we know what to do based on what we know now.

We think the job of the songwriter is to write great songs and get them cut, or to get signed.

But there's a lot more to it than that.

You have to be organized as a businessperson, build your catalog and keep it organized, know what to do if someone wants to cut your song, and know how to take your opportunities to the next level when you hit a plateau.

Einstein famously said, "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them."

If this is true, we have to transcend our current way of thinking to overcome our current problems.

This is the mindset that went into founding Songpreneurs online resource for songwriters and creative entrepreneurs, and the same mindset that keeps me striving as a leader to press forward into new and better systems for sustainable success in the new music business.

Whether or not you write songs, you are welcome to join our Songpreneurs group in the Q1 course: 10,000 Hours to Mastery: Life balancing skills and time management for songwriters and creative entrepreneurs.

The first online session is Monday, Jan 6 at 6pm CDT. Register for the course here.


Amanda Colleen Williams is an awarded songwriter and music publisher with songs on albums certified at 17 million sales by the Recording Industry Association of America®, including "She's Tired of Boys" written with Garth Brooks & is a US Department of State Exchange Program Arts Envoy IPR pilot.


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