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Learn the art, craft & business of songwriting from hit songwriter, Brent Baxter!

The Frettie Journal
A collection of interviews, updates, tips and resources for songwriters.

Are You A Shawshank Songwriter?

Tips & Resources by Brent Baxter, Pro Songwriter on July 11, 2018

If you feel trapped in your day job- if you feel like you’re locked in a prison, I recommend watching “The Shawshank Redemption.” There is an important lesson in there for folks trying to escape their day jobs for the freedom of their dream jobs.

After years behind bars, Tim Robbins’ character, Andy, was finally able to tunnel his way out. No, I’m not suggesting you sneak a breakroom spoon into your cubicle and dig when your boss isn’t looking. The lesson is not about the tunneling itself, but how Andy went about it.

He was extremely patient and radically persistent.

You see, Andy knew he couldn’t just make a break for the wall and try to climb over. He would’ve gotten shot. He also knew that he couldn’t tunnel out in one night. There was just an impossible amount of work to do.

Andy knew he could only dig and remove a little bit of dirt a day without getting caught. So that’s what he did. Day after day, month after month, year after year, he dug a little dirt and spread it around the prison yard.

I’m sure there were times he must’ve been so frustrated that he was tempted to scream and hammer at the tunnel wall, desperate to finally get out! But he knew that would only lead to him getting caught- and getting caught meant, at the very least, changing cells and having to start all over.

And maybe that’s how you feel at your day job. You’re frustrated because you feel trapped, yet you can only do a little at a time to escape. Some days you want to walk into your boss's office quit your day job right then... but you can’t. Maybe you don’t have any savings built up. Or maybe you have a family that is depending on you to bring home a steady paycheck, and you know you can’t let them down.

Or instead of quitting, you’re tempted to lock yourself in your writing room every night after work and polish your songwriting chops or stay out late at songwriter nights every night to network. But you have a spouse and children who need you, so you can’t.

So what do you do? You do what Andy did.

You plan your escape tunnel. Decide how much and how often you can dig without causing certain financial or family ruin. (Notice I said “certain” not “possible.” There will always be risk in chasing your dream, but you don’t have to be suicidal.) Then you start digging at that pace- day after day, month after month, year after year. Dig as long as it takes. Adjust your pace when you can.

Yes, it’s going to test your patience. Yes, it’ll feel like it’s taking too long. But be patient. Yes, it will take longer than the mad scramble up the prison wall, but it’s worth it to dig a tunnel big enough to bring your family and a little money with you on your escape.

If you want to get out of your day-job-prison faster, to tunnel faster, it sure helps to have some relationships in the music business- and to get some real advice from some real professionals. And if you're ready to start building relationships in the music biz, I have a great opportunity coming up for you.

On August 14, I'm hosting a Know The Row" event with Scot Sherrod of Rare Spark Media. This is your chance to hang out online and ask YOUR questions to a real hit music publisher.  Scot has had his hand in several hit country songs and film/tv placements, and his current roster includes rising country star, Walker Hayes ("You Broke Up With Me" and "Craig.")

This is YOUR chance to sit down face-to-face (online) with a real-deal music biz professional, and I hope you won't let it slip away.

Here's the deal.  You can join us online from anywhere in the world on Tuesday, August 14, 2018 from 7pm-8pm Central time.  And "Know The Row" events are FREE to members of!  (But don't worry- a small number of tickets have been made available in case you don't want to take advantage of all of Frettie's membership benefits.)


Sherrod KtR Poster

God bless,


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