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

Day Job: Songwriting Prison… or Songwriter Patron?

Tips & Resources by Brent Baxter, Pro Songwriter on July 04, 2018

If you have the dream of being a full-time songwriter, singer/songwriter, or other type of creative, I know it’s easy to think of your day job as a prison. You feel chained to your desk, or to the sales floor, or to the job site all day. You feel imprisoned by the 8-to-5 because you aren’t free to do what you love all day. This view of your day job as a prison understandably breeds resentment and despair.

But what if there’s another way to look at it? What if, instead of being your prison, your day job is your patron?

It’s never been easy making a living from art. Way back when, artists used to find a rich person to provide financial backing so they could work on their art. This person was known as a "patron."  Of course, these days I wouldn’t expect to find someone to give you room and board just so you can write songs. (Of course, there are a few publishing deals out there, but they don’t usually pay enough to feed a family.)

So let your day job be your patron.

Let your day job pay for the roof over your writing room and the coffee in your mug. Let your job during the day fund your art on nights and weekends. Get paid while you build connections in the music business. Let your boss pay for your demos- he won’t even ask for your publishing!

I know, I know. It’s easy to resent that your day job doesn’t allow you time to write as much as you want. Believe me, I’ve been there, and it pretty much sucks.

But, in reality, your day job DOES buy you more time. It buys you time to learn and get better while there’s very little to lose by failing. It buys you time to work on your craft. It buys you time to gather your cowriting crew. It buys you time to connect with baby artists. It buys you time you need.

It usually takes years to hone your craft. It takes years to build a strong network. Those are years you won’t have if you quit your job with little or no savings and only a few songs in your catalog. You’ll probably starve. And I know from experience that relying completely on songwriting to feed your family is extremely difficult. And I’ve had hits and publishing deals!

I’m not trying to discourage you from ever making “the leap.” That’s ultimately between God, you and your family. But if you have to be in a day job for now, I want to open your eyes to a new way of thinking about it. I want to help you have a perspective on it that will help you persist and grind until you can make that leap to being a full-time creative.

I encourage you to use this time to improve your songwriting, build relationships, and start growing your business.

Turn your prison into your patron.

If you're ready to start building some relationships in the music business, 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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