Jim Beavers On Listening To The Quiet Voices

A dozen years ago I made the scariest decision of my professional life. I was going to go “all in” and try to be a professional songwriter.

I was in my early 30’s, newly married and with my first child on the way. Little voices were telling me I was too old to be chasing an uncertain, unstable career. They said “you’re not talented enough…connected enough…crazy enough.” These voices were loud and making way too much sense.

I’d already been in Nashville for over 10 years working at a record company, working on the road as a manager and musician. Growing up in Texas loving country music, I always knew I wanted to be in the business. I played guitar in bands, I wrote some bad songs but thought making a living as a writer was a pipe dream. So I settled for just being around the business.

Although I had a great time and learned a ton, I had a constant gnawing inside of me telling me I wasn’t in the right place yet. I guess you could call that gnawing a little voice. THIS voice said “you can write songs as good as these other people…you have a gift you are not using…you’re gonna hate yourself someday if you don’t go for it.”

So, there I was a 12 ago with all these conflicting voices in my head. The loud ones were full of fear and reason. The quiet ones were full of confidence and faith.

I’m glad I listened to the quiet voices.

Because I listened to the them, worked hard and have been lucky (these other two are equally important!) I’ve been able to support my family writing songs for the last ten years. It has been the most exhilarating, frustrating, fun, confusing, faith-stretching, ego-building, ego-shattering period of my working life. I have no idea how long it will last but sure am glad I have been allowed to have the experience.

I’m sure you, too, have a lot of voices in your head. The LOUD ones are loud for a reason…sometimes you really need to pay attention to them.

But don’t forget to listen to those quiet ones, too.

-This article was contributed by BMI and NSAI award-winning songwriter, Jim Beavers.