Songwriting vs. Cycling

In this corner…weighing in at a lot of hard work and a lot of personal gratification…SONGWRITING…and in this corner…weighing in at a lot of hard work, sustained weight loss, increased health and a lot of personal gratification…CYCLING…

I love to write songs. I think I got pretty good at it in the several years I focused on it. It’s very personally gratifying and it takes a lot of time and hard work to “make it”. Two years ago I started cycling. I bought a cheap flat bar road bike and off I went. My first ride was 15 miles and my pace was about 13 mph and I had to walk up one hill that really isn’t that much of a hill to me anymore. Over the course of the next several months I spent more and more time cycling and less and less time writing. It wasn’t a concious decision. It just sort of happened. So here I sit two years later analyzing “why?”

Well, the first thing that comes to mind is that I started to see results pretty quickly after I started cycling.  I weighed 220 pounds at my first ride on 4/14/2007. It stayed there for a couple of months as I wasn’t riding a whole lot that first couple months. But starting in June, 2007 I had a consistent weekly weight loss so that I weighed in at 199 before Christmas that year (I also started tracking my calories in and out starting in June 2007 and that helped). Then I steadily kept losing weight each week (average about 1 lb a week for most of the stretch) until I got to my current weight of about 165.

I also started getting faster on the bike and was able to ride further. I did my first 20 mile ride on 5/19/2007, first 30 mile ride on 6/16/2007, first 100+ km ride (76.47 brutal miles) on 8/10/2007 and my first century (100 mi) ride on 9/1/2007. I actually started “training” and each month/year I get faster at these distances and can ride further (longest ride is 122 miles cut short by a tornado :D ). I even have started to try my hand at racing at age 46 (probably foolish…oh well).

You see, there were actual quantifiable results from early on in the process. Weight loss, distance, speed, average heart rate, power, feet of ascent, etc. I could see all of these things improving with the work I put in.

Songwriting on the other hand is much more nebulous. I a considerable chunk of time over 7 years writing, playing out at writers’ nights etc. Yeah, I think I got better at songwriting over those years. Had people tell me so. Yeah, got single song contracts on a couple of my songs with small publishing companies. But even these “results” are vague. They are all based on opinion. I’ve heard songs on the radio that “in my opinion” were not as good as what I can write. Or taking the personal aspect out if it, not as good as some other writers that don’t have hits I know could write. I’ve also heard a ton of songs performed by cut and uncut songwriters that were so brilliant it made my abilities pale in comparison. But all of this is based on opinion.

Plus in the songwriting world networking is as important as the song. What that means to the songwriter is a lot of co-writing, performing at writers nights, schmoozing, etc. on top of writing brilliant songs. What all that means is tons of time. Much more time than cycling takes up. I know there are stories out there of people who get “discovered” and are “overnight successes”. But most “overnight success” stories took 5-10 years of hard work and sacrifice (often financial). Plus, the whole networking thing isn’t my strong suit. I’m not a gregarious person. It is not a comfortable thing for me to just go and start talking to someone and I don’t usually sell myself very well.

So I guess what it boils down to is that I was lured away from one thing I love doing (songwriting) by another thing I developed a love for (cycling) because of the quantifiable results that cycling has shown me. Plus, cycling is definitely more healthy than sitting around with my laptop trying to transfer my thoughts feelings into a format someone would even care to listen to a second time :P .

Anyway, I don’t think I’m done with songwriting in my life. Just an extended break at this point. I’m not sure how it will fit back in, but I hope it does at some point.

Ok…now does anyone care? LOL…comment if you wish :D

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