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Soul Writing: Everyday Self-Care for Songwriters

Linda Dessau By Linda Dessau

© 2004-2007, Linda Dessau. All Rights Reserved. Used By Permission (Please do not reprint without asking permission!)

Songwriting and performance can bring up many challenges for the songwriter - low self-esteem, procrastination, faded energy and poor heath due to unhealthy lifestyle habits, isolation and the busy-ness of life competing with the sometimes quiet voice of the muse.

This column invites you to build awareness of your unique self-care issues, and will also provide practical tips and resources to help you make positive choices every day and gradually transform your life and your songs to a new level. Self-discovery, self-growth and self-care will lead to authentic self-expression. This column will expand on the ideas explored in "Ten Ways to Thrive as a Creative Artist".

A short bio


  • Four Steps Towards a Creative Dream - When you start to gain awareness into the things that are blocking you from moving towards your creative dream, you get a clear picture of the pain that what you're doing now (as well as what you're NOT doing) is causing you. And it’s pain that generally motivates us to take action and change our lives.
  • Self-Care Rules of the Road - How many times have you come back from a tour with the feeling that you'll need a week at home to recuperate? Hard work, excess "fun" and general neglect of your health can all add up to big trouble. There's no need to leave your self-care at home when you go on the road. And there's definitely no need to return completely depleted of energy and your health. Pack along these ten rules before you leave for your next tour.
  • Staying With It - Momentum Overcomes Procrastination - When we procrastinate, we fuel our inner critic's statements and provide evidence that they're true. Then we sink a little lower in our seats and a little father away from our passion. When we gain momentum in the creative flow, however, quite the opposite occurs. We create evidence that, "I AM good!" "I CAN do it!" and then, "I finished!" This article discusses two phases of the creative process – inspiration and implementation – and how to maximize momentum in each phase.
  • The Magic of Storytelling, and other recent lessons - Today's column is a slight departure from the topic of self-care for songwriters; instead I'm going to share some reflections on my recent experiences attending a local music festival.
  • Permission to be an Artist - Granted! - Why is it so difficult to authorize ourselves, grant ourselves permission and consent, to sanction our own creative work?
  • Is There a "Science" of Creative Success? - I've been studying science lately, in the form of a book called "The Science of Getting Rich", written by Wallace Wattles in 1910. I've discovered that this book holds many powerful ideas to enrich our lives, work and success as creative artists.
  • 10 Tools for Dealing with Criticism and Rejection - Ouch! Whether it's feedback we've asked for, an unsolicited remark called out from the audience or a simple "no" result of an audition or submission process, criticism and rejection are a huge part of our lives as creative artists.
  • Sharing Our Creative Work With Others - This article offers my own musings about a particularly dangerous self-sabotage pattern that many creative artists fall prey to; subconsciously seeking feedback from sources that we know will criticize us negatively, validating our own sometimes-low opinion of our work and ourselves.
  • Can YOU be an artist while you're washing the dishes? - In this article I share some of my learning and impressions from a chapter of the exceptional book, "Free Play:The Power of Improvisation in Life and the Arts", by Stephen Nachmanovitch.
  • What Open Stage is Teaching Me About Life - I'm a true beginner when it comes to performing at Open Stage events. It's been a humbling and enjoyable learning experience so far. Here are five lessons I've learned about self-care, wellness and life in general.
  • OUCH, it hurts when I sing (but please don't tell me to stop)! - I hope you'll enjoy reading about Dr. Brian Hands, of the VOX Cura clinic in Toronto, and his work treating singers with voice problems. I found it fascinating to hear how he combines Western medicine with chakra and energy work.
  • Ouch! It hurts when I play (but don’t you dare tell me to stop!) - This article takes a look at musicians' injuries. For an expert perspective, I interviewed Dr. Sarah Mickeler, B.Mus., D.C. Dr. Mickeler is a former professional musician and a chiropractor who concentrates on musicians’ injuries in her practice. She can be reached via her website at
  • Sleep & Creativity - I know I’ll feel so much better if I get a good night’s sleep. And sometimes, for whatever reasons, I don’t choose to “feel good”.
  • Jealous Again - Jealousy – do you feel it? Do you sense it in others? Does it hinder your relationships with other songwriters? Does it sap your confidence? Does it block your writing? Here are some questions to help you get clearer about the jealousy in your life.
  • Managing time, when music isn’t your “day job” - You can do everything. What you cannot do, however, is do everything at the same time, or create a day that’s longer than 24 hours.
  • Meditation, Self-Acceptance and the Muse - How do we get from the point of damaging low self-esteem, where we're beating ourselves up for our "bad ideas", or where we've completely given up trying, to the point of genuine humility, meditation, self-acceptance and creative bounty? This article explores these ideas and offers tool and suggestions for practice.
  • Where do you write, and why does it matter - Take a look around you right now. Look away from the computer screen and scan around – the surface of your desk or table. Now scan farther to look at the rest of the room. Close your eyes and imagine the rooms you can’t see from here, particularly the space where you most often work on your songs. Take a deep breath and really take in the image. What’s the impact?

A short bio:
Linda Dessau is a singer, musician, accredited music therapist and certified life coach. She enjoys using songwriting as a therapeutic tool, to help her clients with special needs express their thoughts and feelings or achieve other goals such as movement and participation. She has also personally used songwriting as a form of personal growth and self-expression. Linda brings creative artists of all types together in her Everyday Artist community - sign-up for free today and join the conversation!

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