How I fight the voices of doom and stay strong in my music

by Sorcha Chisholm

How I fight the voices of doom and stay strong in my music by Sorcha ChisholmIf you’re an artist like me you probably struggle with feelings of doubt, irrelevance and despair on a regular basis. I often go through spells of “what am I doing?”, “why haven’t I made it yet?” to: “I’m not good enough,” “no one cares about what I’m making so why bother?” etc etc. The voices of doom are assholes and I’m gradually learning how to deal with them and not let them sabotage the good thing I’ve got going. In fact I’ve come up with a few tips as to how to stay cool when these voices start their onslaught.

A triple-headed green-eyed monster

So yesterday I was reading a blog post by one Amanda Palmer, the punk cabaret singer-songwriter, and author and how she is killing it at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival again this year. I have admired her and in equal parts despised her for many a year now. I can’t really seem to decide which. But the latter is apparently the slippery slope to fear and loathing and yep, those voices of doom feasting over my distraught artist’s carcass.

She is fearless and feminist and has worked hard to get the life that she now has. My problem is the triple-headed green-eyed monster: Jealousy. Vicariousness. Toxic Competitiveness. I want what she’s got, but am scared of the backlash. That people will say I’m a wannabe and a poseur and a poor man’s AFP. I hate being compared to others. The last thing I want is to be a sycophant or a carbon copy. So I have to slay the three-headed green-eyed beast with a song.

Vicarious Eyes

Here are the lyrics to “Vicarious Eyes” which you can listen to on the SoundCloud link below:

See you sitting there at the screen
Boring a green hole right through me
You know there are so many better things to do
Than wishing you were someone else
With a life that doesn’t belong to you

Vicarious Eyes
They love and they despise
Precious lies
In the pipeline
Don’t waste your time
Wanting what is mine

Got a head full of cotton wool
Worshipping false gods on YouTube
Where oh where does the time go?
Another year sucked into space
With more of this life gone to waste(chorus)Can I be the real me?
Not a sycophant or a carbon copy?
Got to make it or break it down
After all my shadow cannot follow someone else around

It’s just your head line
And your heart line
And your life line

Some tricks

If you are struggling with something like this, or you’re just not sure if you’ve “got what it takes” try these tricks to snap you out of your own mindset:

  1. Cut your own hair.
  2. Take the very next opportunity that comes your way, even if you don’t think it’s “your scene”.
  3. Book a karaoke box by yourself (if they exist in your town) and sing your little heart out.
  4. Get off your device and go for a walk around your neighbourhood.
  5. Get some exercise and journal your thoughts and dreams.
  6. Have a listen to my song “The Fool” which is all about taking risks and reclaiming yourself.
  7. Identify your beast and give it a name. Cerberus, Fluffy, Smaug, whatever helps to make it less threatening.

I hope this has helped to re-inspire you! Please leave comments. Knowing you’re not the only one going through a tough time is also quite helpful.

Stay strong and keep going!
Sorcha x

“The Fool”
“Vicarious Eyes”

Artist’s Note
Singer-Songwriter, Folk, folk rock, acoustic
the-fool, sorchamusic, vicarious-eyes, musiciansblock, sorchachisholm

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