Composing Career Bootcamp

When You've Tried Everything (And Nothing's Working)

⭐️ highlights 💼 finding work 🧠 mindset Jul 04, 2024

So, you've been trying to do composing professionally for a long time now.

Maybe you've even dreamt of this career ever since you were a kid.

You love the idea of...

  • 🥰 Doing what you love for a living
  • 🤩 Getting to work on cool projects
  • 😎 Getting to work with cool people
  • 🤑 Getting paid well to do it

And yet...

You're now hitting a point where all the things you've tried to get there AREN'T working.

Worst of all - you've got no idea what to do next.

I've been there, too. 👋

I remember sitting on a beach in 2020 during the global COVID pandemic, thinking to myself:

"I don't love making music anymore."


I'd overworked myself.

I'd tried so hard for so long that I became burnt out, pessimistic, and hopeless.

But it didn't stop there.

Because I'd attached so much of my self worth to my art that - without any composing work - I started experiencing panic attacks.

Every time I'd sit down to write music, I'd get tight in the chest.

So I'd lie on the couch instead.

Doing nothing.

And the cycle repeated for months.

So if you're feeling that way, I want you to know that you're not alone.

And there's good news.

This insurmountable obstacle that you feel like is stopping you from getting where you want to go is actually just a tiny little roadblock in the whole of your career.

This career is NOT a straight line to the top.

It's a path full of hills and valleys.

And the things you'll learn when you're stuck in those valleys are some of the most valuable lessons for the future of your career.

With that in mind...

I'd like to share some pointers for what to focus on during this time.

First off, you've got to focus on your health.

Right now, you're drained.

The tank is empty.

And you need to refuel, replenish yourself, and do some things you love again so you can keep moving forward.

Despite what "grind culture" tells you...

The people who find long-term success in this career are NOT people who simply keep their head down.

They're the people who can maintain the energy to see this through to the end.

Go find things you love doing that AREN'T music.

In quarantine, I started to explore new hobbies, like:

  • 📚 Reading self-improvement books
  • 🕹️ Playing video games
  • ☕️ Socializing more
  • 🪵 Woodworking


I didn't do any of those things with the goal of "recharging so I can get right back to my career".

Instead, I did these things for myself.

Next, I'd like you to exercise more patience.

Sometimes when things aren't working the way we hoped, our instinct is to try and changet things.

We think:

"That email I sent didn't get answered yet - what did I do wrong??"

Take a breath.

Slow down.

And ask yourself:

"Am I REALY being patient enough to accurately see the results of the things I'm trying?"

In most cases, you're not doing anything wrong.

You just need to do it more, and you just need more time.

I've had SO many times where I tried things with no immediate wins, thought I'd messed up, and then years later had those things I tried reward me eventually.

I've had times where I've reached out to people with no response for YEARS, and then suddenly landed work.

In fact...

One of the best gigs I had - writing additional music for Kung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight (Netflix) - came from not ONE email to the composer...

Not TWO emails...

Not THREE emails...

But four emails, numerous in-person hangouts, and tons of back-and-forth messages over the course of years.


If I'd only sent that first email, thought it didn't work, and immediately pivoted, I'd never have gotten to write for that show.

Time is an essential ingredient in this career.

And time isn't something you can control - it's something you need to learn to accept.

"But I don't HAVE much time left! Time's running out!"

 I hear that one all the time.

But is that really true?

Is time really running out?

Or are you just trying to get there faster?

Here's a perspective flip:

It's GOOD if it takes you a long time to get there.

That means you'll be that much more prepared with a sustainable attitude, mistakes you've learned from, and skills you've developed.

Because by the time you get what you want in your career...

You want to have a good lifestyle.

You want to feel good about yourself.

You want to be able to say no.

What you DON'T want is to attach yourself to your career so deeply that when there's no work, you feel like your life is falling apart.

That's where I was at.

And until you overcome that, the doors to long-term success will remain shut.


Sometimes you are doing everything right, and you just need more time.

The more you can be at peace with that, the happier you'll be.

👋 Want More? Join the Newsletter.

Join over 3,500 composers reading my 🌎 Compose & Conquer Newsletter, and every Tuesday I'll send you free resources and strategies to help you master your composing craft and get paid to do it.