Making The Most Of Your Membership- Jennifer Turnbow

Jennifer Turnbow, making the most of your membership

One of the most common questions we get around here from new or prospective members is “what can NSAI do for me?” Personally, I find that question very difficult to answer with any sincerity. Can NSAI make you a better songwriter? Maybe. Can we help you meet co-writers? Maybe. Can we get your songs cut? Maybe. “Maybe” isn’t the answer anyone wants to hear and honestly, that “maybe” requires more explanation, so eventually, I stopped answering the question directly and now I ask the inquirer, “Have you ever belonged to a gym?”
I belong to a gym and I am a fairly faithful gym-goer. I often see people join the gym with lofty goals such as losing 100 pounds or running a marathon. Those are noble goals and I am not here to diminish them. Joining the gym is a great first step, but that alone is not going to shed those pounds or increase the strength and stamina it takes to run a marathon. The gym offers tools that as a member, you have to take advantage of in order to attain those goals. There are cardio and weight machines all of which are free with membership, there are employees available for consultations free with membership, and there are other members with whom you can build relationships to work out together and encourage one another.
NSAI is very similar to a gym in all those respects. Just joining NSAI isn’t going to do anything to improve your writing or create opportunities for you or your songs. We offer tons of tools with membership that can help to do those things, but you have to take advantage of them in order to get out of NSAI what it can do for you. Like a gym, you have to dedicate a certain amount of your time each week to utilizing services that come with your membership if you want to see results and you have to keep your chin up and keep working at it even when you are discouraged. In the gym, every week doesn’t necessarily bring weight loss or noticeably increased strength and that can cause discouragement and a feeling of wanting to give up. Similarly, when you submit a song evaluation and get less positive feedback than you were hoping for, or you sign up for an online pitch and the publisher isn’t interested in your song, it can create discouragement. But just like in the gym, you have to use that setback to encourage you to work harder, get better and try again.
You get out of anything what you put into it. At some point, in both writing and physical training, you may hit a plateau that requires more than just the things that come with your membership to boost you forward. At the gym, that would be the time to hire a personal trainer that will give you the chance to dig in more intensely and teach you new tools you can later make use of yourself. Personal fitness goals require diet habits, the right workout gear, etc. to get all the way to your goal, none of which even happen at the gym.
Just like the gym, NSAI isn’t the only answer to attaining your goal. NSAI can be a huge part of your journey toward your goals, but to get all the way there, there are things you have to do outside of NSAI to make it all the way. Networking, playing open mics and even just reading books are all ways to improve your writing and hone in on your goals and work hand-in-hand with the things NSAI can offer. Give yourself more time to pursue your craft. Get outside your comfort zone—whether that be digging in to expand your co-writing opportunities or just allowing yourself time and the freedom to create. Consider attending one of our premium events. Spring Training and both our Song Camps are excellent ways to intensify the work you’ve been doing on your own, make relationships with other people and hurdle over any plateau you’ve been experiencing in your writing.
We want to help you become the best songwriter you can be and you will find that the NSAI staff will work tirelessly for you, but we can only help you as much as you’re willing to put in the time and help yourself.
Write a song today. Use an NSAI service today. Read a book. Do all that again tomorrow and the next day and the next week. If you do all that, at the end of your membership year, you’ll find that the answer to your first question is that NSAI can do a lot for you and that you’re a better writer than the one that joined. You may not have reached the goals you set for yourself, but I’ll bet you’re closer and if you’ve truly put in the work in addition to just joining the organization, you can certainly be proud of where you’ve come.
- Senior Director of Operations, Jennifer Turnbow