Last week we dove into the reality that most musicians will maintain other (non-performing) work during part of their careers, if not most of their artistic life. This is not only the truth of today’s market, but a completely acceptable state of being. Now it’s just a matter of rethinking your thinking:
One path of many
I’m making a point of these market realities, and will continue to do so on this blog, because it’s so easy for artists of all sorts to get wrapped up in self-defeating attitudes that destroy the hope of living a productive artistic life. Too often we see talented people beating themselves up because they have not yet achieved the specific success they envisioned during those years in school. If this is an ongoing struggle for you, try a little reconfiguration of your vision and goals:
Wrapping your brain around it
If, for whatever reason, you need or prefer steady work and/or the “patchwork life”, it needs to be a valid reality in your own mind. This seems to be one of the biggest obstacles for artists of all kinds, but singers in particular. Embrace it and make it work for you by controlling the things you can:
- Be mindful of the work you choose and make conscious choices about how you prioritize music in the rest of your life.
- Find your niche and keep at it.
- But also, keep your skills up so you’re as versatile as possible, and prepared for opportunities as they arise.
- Then let yourself off the hook by activating and celebrating the ways your “other” job can support your artistic self.
Keep dreaming anyway… always
This is not to say that you need to give up — that is the opposite of what I’m suggesting here. The point is to keep going, no matter what. If you’re passionate about your art — music, painting, writing, cooking, dancing, or underwater basket weaving — then you must keep doing it, any way you can, every day. In the end, this simple approach can do much to help you continue working toward your goals.
Don’t let an arbitrary definition of success get in your way. Just keep working, and be ready for anything.
This is the third installment in a four-part series. See also:
- Part 1: A hard look at the future
- Part 2: Market realities
- Next week: Adjusting your mindset