Things Every Artist Must Do Before The End Of 2019

Believe it or not, the end of 2019 is just six short weeks away. As we enter into 2020, here are some of the most important things an artist can do to position themselves for success in the new year.


Guest post by James Shotwell of Haulix

Most days it is hard to believe that 2019 is almost over. In roughly six weeks, people everywhere will be gathering to celebrate the start of 2020. There will be parties held and promises made, all of which hinge on our awareness that time marches on whether or not we are prepared for what comes next. The best we can do is to position ourselves for success, which is what you need to do in the days and weeks ahead.

We live in exciting times. There is so much happening at any moment that it is all anyone can do to try and be present. If you take your eye off whatever you’re doing right now to reflect or plan you’re likely to miss the next opportunity that presents itself. Thankfully, the end of the year signals a slowdown in music that gives people at every level of the business a chance to take stock of their lives. 

There are three things every musician should do before the years ends, but before we get there, consider this: Are you happy? Is the work you’re doing, including everything that has happened over the last year, making you smile? Is the path your on in line with your dreams? If the answer is yes, great! Keep on keeping on. If the answer is no, then consider this moment the perfect time to make a change. Don’t allow yourself to enter another year living a life that doesn’t reflect your values or interests. We only have a limited time on this planet, and you owe it to yourself to do everything your heart desires. Don’t push off being your true self any longer. Be the real you to the fullest extent possible. 

After you do that, do these things as well:

Take time to appreciate your journey.

With so much happening all the time most people rarely take the opportunity to reflect on their journey. A lot has transpired over the last year, probably much more than you realize, and it’s important to set aside time for reflection. Maybe you did not accomplish everything you hoped for, but you no doubt did a lot. Maybe you played shows in places you’ve never been or wrote a song about something you never thought you’d share. Maybe you wrote a single lyric that made you feel like your truest self was being expressed. Whatever the case, take some time before the year ends to appreciate the work you’ve done. The life you are living now was once a dream that felt out of reach. Don’t forget that.

Show appreciation to those that support your dream.

No one is an island. Your success is the direct result of other people caring about you and your creativity. Every listener, concert attendee, and person who responded to an email has helped shape the career you have today. Before entering 2020, reach out to those who made an impact on your career to show your appreciation. Make them feel as special as their support has made you feel however you are able. If you can send notes or cards or gifts, do so. If you want to post a blog that recounts some of the more memorable experiences you’ve had receiving help from others, do that. Go above and beyond to show how grateful you are for the support you have received because there are many who would do anything for the following you have right now.

Make a (reasonable) plan for the new year.

The goal of every artist is to do something new and exciting with each passing year. The best way to position yourself for success in 2020 is to enter it with a plan already in place. Set reasonable goals for yourself that play into your strengths. If you wrote two good songs this year, consider planning to release an EP in the new year rather than two full-length albums. If you played two shows this year and want to play more, try making plans for a short tour instead of a month-long trek across the country. Set your sights on achievable goals that won’t feel too great to tackle when it comes time to work. 

Furthermore, once you have a few goals in mind, create checkpoints in your calendar to help keep yourself on track. If you want to tour for a week in the summer, set aside time every other week where you work on building connections and pitching venues. If you want to record, set aside time weekly to work on your material. 

Small accomplishments can easily lead to major accomplishments, but trying to do too much without a plan is a recipe for disaster. Take your time, trust yourself, and commit to seeing things through. If you can do that, which may be a bigger ‘if’ then you realize, then you will already be ahead of the competition.

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company’s podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.

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