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This is a question that I have been thinking about a lot recently. I’m a musician who is writing a couple of books with a friend of mine. The books are about “why” and “how” to succeed as an independent artist - author or musician.

I believe that internal motivation is one of the major factors that determines the success or failure of a project. You have to have a powerful “why” and I don’t think that wanting to earn money with your book or music is a good enough “why” to succeed. I’m not suggesting that having a desire or goal to be well paid for your work is bad or wrong - it’s just not a strong enough reason to put forth the tremendous amount of hard work the succeeding demands.

Your “why” is extremely personal and is different for every person. These different motivations produce such a wonderful variety of books and music that enrich our society.

I write piano/orchestral music and it’s a cross between new age and classical. When I first began the recording my main motivation was ego. I thought I was better than Yanni and some of the other established new age artists and to prove it I planned to go around performing in front of large crowds and make tons of money. (not a very good “why”)

About two months after the release of my CD I developed tendinitis and nerve inflammation in my arms and wrists. I couldn’t play the piano anymore. During the next 18 months of rehab I had a lot of time to think. I also wrote the music for a 2nd CD. Once my arms and wrists were feeling better I set up some concerts with my friend Scott. Performing with him was a great experience because it helped me realize that my “why” wasn’t good enough to succeed financially as a musician. Scott is a true performer. He thrives on stage. He focuses on his fans and his fans love him for it. He performs all the time. I realized that wasn’t me and not what I want. I don’t want to travel all the time performing. I want to write and play the piano on my own schedule - not conducive behavior for a successful musician. I want people think I’m a good composer and a good pianist and I don’t want to travel the world performing 200+ days/year. I would like perform a few times a year. That is sufficient for me.

That experience as a musician, plus listening to the challenges writers face trying to get a traditional publishing deal have given me a “why” that I am really passionate about. My whole purpose right now is to help independent authors and musicians succeed. I am going to be part of a seminar in March with the theme Create. Control. Dream. I get to speak to authors and musicians about taking control of the careers and how to achieve indie success. It’s going to be such a great event. There are a lot of great speakers scheduled. If you’re going to be in the Sacramento area March 28th, I would like to invite you to attend.

Starting an online store for independent authors and musicians, forming a publishing company, writing books and speaking can feel overwhelming. I sometimes feel I cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel. However, I have my “why” and that is what allows me to stay focused and able to endure and conquer the obstacles I face. I know that I will succeed and I’m willing to work hard to ensure that success.

What is your “why”? What motivates you?

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