This blog is for the dreamers and those who are following their heart. (So, hopefully you.). I heard someone say years ago that if you have the desire to create, do, or share something, as a universal law, there is someone to receive it. He said that for every gift there is a recipient (even if you don’t know who will receive it). One does not exist without the other. These statements stuck with me. If nothing else, they made me feel better.
Over the years, I’ve spent many hours sitting in my apartment recording or writing and wondering who will ever want to listen to my songs or my recordings. I’ve put out albums where I’ve literally sold 3 downloads. I’ve spent hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars on a project , and made back a few hundred over the course of a year. I have played in venues where there were two people in the audience who were reading and didn’t look up. I have felt sorry for myself, cried over nobody (as I perceived it) listening to what I had to share, and angry that I felt compelled to share it in the first place. Countless times I’ve thought, “Why can’t I want to be a lawyer or a banker?” “Why couldn’t I want a normal career where you get a stable paycheck and have insurance and sick days?” This was me feeling sorry for myself. Really sorry for myself. I even tried to have a day job a couple of times. But it was awful, much like a cage. I was even more unhappy than I was living by the seat of my pants and on other people’s couches. At least I felt free when pursuing singing and songwriting. Even if in that freedom, it was still kind of a jail.
But my saving grace was a few things.
The first was my mom-ever loving, ever supportive and ever encouraging. I would not be where I am today (still freaking doing this :)) had it not been for my mom. She always loves my songs, always tells me how amazing I am, and always supports me know matter what choice I’ve made. I have learned to soak up that love/support like a sponge. It kept me going and still gives me emotional boosts. I used to sort of discount my mom, because she was my mom. I needed ‘real’ fans (that weren’t related to me). She has to love me and support me. Well, that is definitely not true. I have lots of musician friends who had the opposite experience. Their parents weren’t supportive and didn’t think they had a gift to share with the world. If nothing else, I’m lucky to have one person to always receive it.
So, who is your saving grace? Who is your ultimate supporter? A parent, an aunt, a friend, a spouse? Do you discount them for their role in your life?
Maybe surprisingly second, I learned to appreciate my fans. This was a big one. It wasn’t as if I didn’t appreciate them, it was more that didn’t absorb or really take in their appreciation and support. I was too often feeling sorry for myself and paying attention to who wasn’t there and who wasn’t buying my music, that I was almost ignoring the people that were there. It was like, “Well, these few people really like what I’m doing, but why don’t all these other people like it.” Someone may email that they really loved a show or the loved the album, and I would immediately think about how few people came to that show or how few I’ve sold or how broke I was. While the latter was all true, that is not what I or anyone should be focused on. Between the compliments and criticism, I focused on the criticism. Not only did that not do my fans justice, but it made me feel terrible. I look back and think, “Why did I even think those thoughts when they made me feel so worthless?” I can’t answer that, but now I choose my thoughts more carefully. If I think of myself as a sponge, I am one that absorbs the positive and doesn’t the negative. When fans email me now, I am so appreciative. I recognize that what I’m creating if for these people, the ones who it touches and the ones who appreciate it. My music, my voice is NOT for those who don’t. I don’t take offense or think something is wrong with me, or them. It’s just not a match. That’s okay.
Are you someone who focuses on the positive or the negative? Do you let criticism affect your attitude towards yourself and your creations? Do you truly appreciate the supporters you have? Are your thoughts serving or hindering you?
Follow your gut. Don’t doubt. Follow your gut. Don’t doubt. Repeat. When it comes to creating (and life), I am trying to follow my intuition at all times. You know when you get an idea and it holds some excitement for you. You think, “Wow. I would love to do that” or “That would be fun.” Well, if you are like me, sometimes I get that initial burst of inspiration and then for whatever reason, immediately kill it. I think, “I can’t do that,” “That would be too expensive,” “Nobody would buy that,” or “I don’t know how.” Well this refers back to the very first thing I said. If you have the desire to create it, there is someone there to receive it. That includes everything I’ve ever put out musically and every tour I’ve done. And for me recently, I’ve had the desire to write a children’s book, making humpback whales meditation videos, and throw my own pottery. None of the latter has much to do with music or my career and probably will not make any money, but that it what my intuition is telling me to do so I’m doing it. It takes a leap of faith to trust that concept. But the only regrets I have in life are when I didn’t follow my intuition. So these days, I just try not to doubt. When I get that initial burst of inspiration, I milk it for all it worth and try to keep the negative out of my mind. If the negative starts to creep in, I change the subject “Look! Squirrel!” (reference from “Up”).
Are you following your intuition? Do you have a strong desire to do something but keep suppressing it with doubts/negativity? What are you gaining by not doing it?
Lastly, you have put it out there. No one can receive it if you don’t put it out there. By creating it and keeping it to yourself, you are not completing the cycle. The cycle is to create, then give. Create, then give. Just like you are receiving other people’s creations all the time. It’s actually fairly selfish to keep it to yourself :). It feels so good to give your creations. It can be more rewarding than actually creating it. These days it’s do easy to put things out. Music, art, photography, recipes, ideas. And people will find it! I know they will. And the thing is you might not even know they’ve found it. The only way I know is when people email me or write me. That’s probably 1 out of 1000. Maybe more. I don’t know. That’s another thing you just have to trust. Like this blog. Maybe no one will ever read it or see it. (if you made it this far, you must be the one I wrote it for). If it helps or inspires you, it is for you. If I hadn’t felt inspired to write this and also followed through and published it, this wouldn’t be here.
Okay. So go create!