It's all about timing. Or is it?
David Bowie was a superstar whose hits spun decades. Yet, before then, he spent many years trying and failing to break through into the music industry. Wandering through the New York scene of the 60s with guitar in hand singing covers to clusters of young socialites at parties. Even despite his English accent and preference for wearing a dress, he struggled to make himself memorable - this is David Bowie, remember.
Having given up on music a couple of times, changing his style, experimenting with other arts and always returning for another go, Bowie wrote a song about an astronaut and his navigation through both space and fame. An eclectic time for music, 1969 saw traditional songs like Sinatra’s My Way and The Foundation’s Build Me Up Buttercup competing with more experimental releases and story songs like Pinball Wizard and The Boxer. Yet, the industry might still not have been ready for a song like Bowie’s Space Oddity, if it hadn’t been released at a time when the world was gripped by the moon landing.
Just over a week before Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon, Space Oddity entered the charts and was further elevated when the BBC played it during the moon Apollo 11 landing coverage.
And the rest, as they say, was history. Or, was the future maybe, because so much of it was about timing. Space Oddity worked because it’s a great song but we know it largely because it was born into the world at the perfect moment. You might even say, it was in the stars.
Despite all of his frustration whilst success eluded him, Bowie was still creating, still experimenting, still focused on the future and tuned into the present.
Sometimes, we miss our moments. Sometimes, the world is not ready for us and sometimes we simply haven’t invested in the right work at the right time.
Bowie’s story isn’t about timing really, it’s about playing the odds.
Did you know that aside from the hundreds of thousands of words I've written for my lovely clients, I have also drafted multiple short stories and am on my third attempt at a novel? I am widely unpublished. Honesty - I'm unpublished all over the world. But here's the thing - Firstly, I love writing so much that even if I knew for certain I'd never have any success, I'd still do it. But also, as Bowie's story teaches us, though the odds are mostly against you anyway, if you don't keep creating you then the odds go down to zero. If something doesn't work then it could be for any number of reasons. Move on to new work, to the next idea, keep those fires burning.
You see, if you’re always creating then at some point you’re going to strike the right chord at the right time.