an operating manual for not quitting

Published August 14, 2021

David Bayles and Ted Orland, in their excellent research-based book, Art & Fear, Observations on the Perils and Rewards of Artmaking, offer this brief, but effective “OPERATING MANUAL FOR NOT QUITTING:

A. Make friends with others who make art, and share your in-progress work with each other frequently

B. Learn to think of [A], rather than the Museum of Modern Art, as the destination of your work. (Look at it this way: If all goes well, MOMA will eventually come to you.)”

Hey, have I personally invited you to join the Friday Afternoon Songwriting Club? If I haven’t, then please let this missive be your personal invitation

Look, I’m not saying you’re afraid. I’m saying I’m afraid. On one level, it is so thoroughly terrifying to me to show up to the blank page with my voice recorder in hand in the hopes that I might write a half-way decent song, that I will go to any lengths to avoid it.

My mind will create a to-do list as long as my arm of things that must be handled right now. My subconscious mind will make me kinda sleepy, even though I did get enough rest last night. And then if I live through that, some critic that lives in my head will start lobbing subtly crafted insults at me, such as “you’re never going to be Leonard Cohen”, or “no one listens to new music anyway, so what’s the point?”

So, thank goodness my community led me to create the Friday Afternoon Songwriting Club.

Now, I know I have to show up every week and write a song. (Plus, because I am the founder, I get to also write a set of prompts that can be used by every single other person in the Club to write their own song.)

Is it scary? Well, kinda. But the other side of fear is ecstasy and exhilaration. I honest-to-God feel both every single week that I’m at FASC.

But Gary, I’m so tired of Zoom calls, and I’m afraid of being judged by other people and my to-do-list is longer than both my arms.


I hear you. I’m tired of ordinary Zoom calls, too, which is why we designed FASC to be a different sort of call. And I’m afraid of being judged by others, too, which is why we mute everyone on the call and make an opportunity to share works in progress through the forums and cozy song circles and even the Songwriters’ Open Mic night, but we never require you to share your song, ever. And just think how easy and fun your to-do list will be to work on after you’ve written the very thing that your soul needed to say today.

Look, I find that it’s sometimes difficult to explain why the magic of simple community works so well for artists of all levels to make new work during our guided calls. 


So, please, accept my invitation and join us this week at FASC.

We’re waiting for you.
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Picture of Gary Grundei, founder | composer

Gary Grundei, founder | composer

There’s a magic that can happen when you put creativity, growth, authenticity, generosity, and community all together in one virtual environment. golden lotus studio was established as an online community in 2018 to fill a need for composers and songwriters of all walks of life and experience and training and styles to be able to support each other in their creativity and growth.

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Friday Afternoon Songwriting Club (FASC)

A dynamic community designed to help you write better songs today.
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64 songwriting tips AND TRICKS

We created these tips just for you! Why? Because we know that you have a song just waiting to emerge and we want to help you share it with the world! Free for a limited time.