Note by Note: Light the Stage | No. 36 | 8.25.21

When I began attending songwriting workshops, I felt slightly annoyed by the emphasis on being “satisfied” with our own songs. Is this the best we could hope for when we all have big dreams? 

And then you learn that Spotify receives 60,000 new songs every day. Every day. You wonder how your music fits into that whole big picture, especially when all roads have led you to songwriting and you have something to say. 

Anyone in the arts know the vulnerability of sharing original work. As your creations are judged, you try hard to celebrate your efforts internally…just as the workshops advise. Even if you don’t get positive feedback. Even if few tickets are sold. Even if you aren’t traveling as fast or as far as you’d like. 

So what is creativity’s reward at the end of the day? Can it be measured? Will there be enough to feel successful? 

My struggle with each of these questions is woven into this song. If I wait to be validated or “discovered”, I’ll miss the tremendous satisfaction of having a unique voice. If I feel bound to subjective feedback, I’ll always chase more “likes”. 

A glorious but challenging road awaits all artists. Think long and hard about who gets the final say on your art. In the balance between internal and external validation, make sure your creations make you proud first. 

Dare to create and, by all means, light the stage! 




Songwriting is an act of hope 

Hope that the song will resonate 

Hope that the song will be of service 

Hope that the songwriter won’t be too critical 

Hope that the song will find a home 

Hope that the songwriter will know peace in the effort and the gift. 

~Joy Zimmerman


Joy Zimmerman, a soulful singer/songwriter, explores the everyday and the extraordinary with a captivating voice. Her songs resonate with humor, triumph and humanity. Joy’s seventh studio album -- The Canvas Before Us -- is an acoustic reinvention and available now.

Leave a comment