There's a little game I like to play with myself. Well, it's more of an exercise. And I don't always like it, but it is always useful. This is how it works. I take some aspect of my life or daily behavior, and I compound it out over time in my imagination. If I do this everyday, what will my life look like in a month? A year? Five years? Is this imagined future better or worse than my current reality? And finally, what is the silent assumption I am making by doing or not doing this behavior? I often find that this last question really highlights if I'm on the right path or not.
Over the last few years of writing songs and playing them for people, I've experienced fits and falterings in motivation, momentum, and forward motion. The falterings usually manifested as a lack of shows in my calendar. I used to see this as a good thing– If I had too many shows on the books, I wouldn't have much time for writing and learning new songs. But over the past year, I realized something critical about myself: nothing kicks my creativity into high gear more than having a show coming up. For me, shows are necessary to spark songwriting. And new songs renew my passion for playing live. Every spoke in the wheel strengthens the others.
There was another, even harder realization behind the first. During the stagnant periods, the silent assumption I was making was that somehow more people would hear my music, shows would fall into my lap, and I would continue to experience increasing success, without any effort on my part. Obviously, I wouldn't have said this is what I assumed, because it makes absolutely no sense. But what else can be inferred by that level of inaction? Clearly, I was on the wrong path.
This may sound bleak, but there is good news. Realizing that the inferred assumption behind my behavior was ridiculous was a kick in the pants, but it got me back on the right path. Being an independent singer-songwriter is hard work. Pursuing any art while working full time and maintaining some kind of balanced life is HARD WORK. But it's still a miraculous privilege to even be able to try. And if I want to line my dreams up with my reality, I have to put in that hard work. I have to show up every day. This is the bare minimum. And I'm happy to say that for the past 28 days, I have shown up and done the work.
Seneca said, "Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity." I can't control the opportunities, but I can control the preparation. The path isn't easy, but the way is clear.
So be on the lookout for more action over on the shows page, more videos on YouTube, and more signs of life on this blog.
It is my sincere hope that whatever your passion is, you are on the hard, clear path that leads you there.