Notes on Napkins

musings for songwriters

March Goals (Some Advice from Steve Martin)


“Perseverance is a great substitute for talent.” – Steve Martin, Comedian, Actor, Musician

steve-martin-bookI’m in the middle of reading Steve Martin’s book “Born Standing Up” and have been highlighting lines and paragraphs like crazy (wild and crazy, that is ;-). I relate so much to the joys, setbacks, highs and lows he describes because in any kind of creative pursuit from stand-up comedy to songwriting, there are commonalities: We are starting with nothing and trying to create something tangible with the intention of moving an audience emotionally. We are trying to find our original voice while at the same time being relatable. We are constantly mining our inner resources and confidence to keep moving forward. We continue learning new tricks and developing our skills even as our work is being rejected over and over. But somehow the pursuit is a thing of beauty in itself.

Martin says, “I did stand-up comedy for eighteen years. Ten of those years were spent learning, four years were spent refining, and four were spent in wild success.”

What are some of your objectives to keep learning and refining this month? Statistics show that writing down goals increases the odds of achieving them. Big or small, it doesn’t matter as long as we keep moving in the right direction. Join us in goal-setting this month and post yours in the comment area. 



Author: Sara Light

Sara Light has been writing professionally in Nashville since 1996. Her credits include the John Michael Montgomery title track and the hit single "Home To You" which received an ASCAP airplay award in addition to being named SESAC song of the year for having garnered 2 million spins on radio. She also composed songs for the musical "Urban Cowboy, The Musical" which opened on Broadway in March 2003 and was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Original Score." Sara has always combined her love of teaching with her love of songwriting and has given countless songwriting seminars throughout the U.S. and Canada. In 2001 she co-founded, along with her husband Danny Arena, the online educational website Besides being one of the main administrators (and now bloggers) Sara teaches Song Feedback and Lyric Writing at

9 thoughts on “March Goals (Some Advice from Steve Martin)

  1. My March Goals are:
    1. Finish the transcription of “Your Abiding Presence” by the Discovery Singers which one of our Sisters asked me to do.
    2. Rewrite my song “Message of Mercy” utilizing the feedback from Randy Klein’s class and a Coaching critique.

    • Sounds like an excellent plan, Sister.

    • If you’ve finished the transcription of “Your Abiding Presence” by the Discovery Singers and are willing to share it, I’m interested. That song is an inspiration to me and I’ve been trying to find the album for purchase (I hear it every so often on Christian radio).

      God bless!

      • I am trying to send you the files but am having a hard time. Patience! Sister Kay Kay

        • Thank you! Let me know if there’s something I can do to help.

          • Hi Warren
            Sara sent me your Facebook link & blog link, but they don’t seem to allow for files to be sent. Can you help with a good ol’ email address? The files are ready to go. I’m technologically challenged, as you can unerstand.
            Sister Kay Kay

          • Thank you, you can email me at vwdowns AT gmail DOT com (replace AT with @, DOT with a period (.). Described that way to hopefully avoid spam filters.

  2. Thanks! I got his autobiorgraphy and am reading. He has a MASTERCLASS ion comedy just out cant’ wait for that!

  3. Reblogged this on Screamie Birds Studios and commented:
    So I took the plunge and decided to sign up for the album deal at CDBaby. I already have 2 singles with the to see how things go. So now I’ve committed to finishing a whole album. Looking to one of my favorite online feedback resources, Songu, I found this blog post and it inspired me to keep on keeping on.

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