Tag Archives: creativity

What becomes of the creative hearts?

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I was having a conversation in a forum the other day and someone said:
The key in MY opinion to being successfully self employed is to really know about what you are selling/making etc.

Yes and no.

It’s all about money. And if your business is a non-essential product or service, well, it takes a lot of hard work to keep momentum.

I know my shiz – I mean, I KNOW MY SHIZ. It’s very hard to get people to part with money for non-essentials at the moment. Not only that, it’s also very hard to get people to focus; children are raised to be instantly gratified these days, so a lot of them are not cut out for the dedication of learning classical discipline. And then with the clothes website, again, people just don’t have money to splash out – and they don’t need to when there are sweatshop high street stores.

There’s a dance school in my road started offering music lessons at half my rate. I checked it out; the tutors are still students with little teaching experience and no true musical qualifications. Half my price for half my skill, sounds about right. But parents don’t know that. The lessons are held in fancy dance studios and they get a discount if their kids take ballet. Before that, the other two music teachers and I rubbed along nicely in this road. They’re true tutors, too. All of us have lost custom since the dance studio threw their expensive banners up.

Live work – Pubs can’t afford us, period. Knowing our game doesn’t change that fact. Smoking ban killed it off and it will never recover.

That being said, I agree with you generally; long-term it’s the entrepreneur who knows his product/service that survives. If I worked in another creative field – not music, dance or art – something such as woodwork, metalwork etc, I imagine knowing my skill would suffice to keep regular income, as I could work with household furniture etc.

But disposable income players such as myself – musicians, painters etc – we get by on luck and the wind turning mainly. That’s why I diversify as much as possible. When one pot’s empty, by the grace of God, another one gets some pennies thrown in. I get no gigs, a royalty check for my book shows up. No book sales, a new student calls etc. People view me as flaky – us musicians have no choice but to diversify. It’s not flaky.

I’m broke, but I’m happier being broke than being in an office. Not that I could get an interview anyway

I’ll probably always tutor, but I don’t want to do it exclusively; I need my other creative outlets. However, when teaching, I live for the rare gem who has a gift. They come along now and again, but mainly it’s kids whose parents want to put extracurricular activities on the school application. I only hope to help others find their passion as I have mine.

I have no clue how my talents can possibly serve me in this life, or rather, this asinine, soulless society. I just want to write and play.

As things stand, there is little room for us, the creative hearts. And so I retire. Withdraw from the stage to create some more. Maybe I’ll share it with an audience, maybe not. I find the current public climate toxic, draining, counterproductive.

And so I step outside the arena altogether in order to plan my finest performance.

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It’s all about Me, Me, Me.

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One of the things I dislike about being an independent musician is the constant need for self-promotion. As an artist, a creative being, I just want to create, make my music, write my books, but that’s not enough in today’s fast-paced world. The internet has become a great tool for independent creative types, but it also makes for a larger sea of people, vying for attention, “Look at my work! Listen to my songs!”

My career has had many ebbs and flows, and will undoubtedly continue that way, such is the life of a writer/musician/artist/actor. It’s an unfortunate necessity that one has to continually blow one’s foghorn. It does work; a great portion of my clients find me online without me advertising, either through social networking on Twitter, for example, or just by search engine (which is why SEO is important). The creative personality is not geared towards marketing, promotion, SEO, blah blah blah, but until we are earning enough or have a high enough public profile, we have to just grit our teeth and do it.

I have to admit, my fragile ego worries people think I’m conceited, always talking about myself and linking to my wares. To me, it seems so repetitive to always be shouting about myself, like a market trader flogging knock-off gear, but I have to acquiesce it’s essential. I always think the product (and I hate using that word for art) speaks for itself, or should do. On the other side of the transaction, I listen to word of mouth recommendations more than I would ever pay attention to a glossy marketing drive, but ho hum, such is life. I don’t like being told what I should like, should listen to, should buy, but I think I’m in the minority, else a whole industry wouldn’t thrive in advertising.

I have to separate the creator part of myself from the business part. I have no interest in marketing, but I’m going to have to resign myself to plugging away until I’m in the position of  ‘hiring that shit out’, as a colourful LA-based rock musician I know would say.

Oh by the way, did you buy my book yet?