Thursday, August 4, 2011

My New Bible: The War of Art

Last Saturday, Andy Ard and Lauren Brombert suggested I check out "The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles" by Steven Pressfield. I picked it up Sunday afternoon and just finished it today.

This book is an absolute must-read for anyone who feels they are not living their life's purpose, especially artists. It details all the ways the Ego/Resistance keeps us from doing our work and clearly and concisely explains how to overcome this dragon in each of its aspects.

Ironically, the act of reading the book can be a manifestation of Resistance if you're doing it to avoid your work. But if you're feeling stuck about how to proceed or need some inspiration, this is the book for you. Hell, even if you are using the book to procrastinate, it's worth the read because it will expose all the ways you are sabotaging yourself. And it won't sugar-coat it, either. Sort of a tough-love therapy session.

Get it. Today. You won't regret it.

Writing is part of my work, and if you look at the last time I blogged you'll see that I've been shamefully negligent. Since I last blogged, I've managed to acquire 8 jobs (in addition to my music career which brings the total to 9) and balancing them has been challenging. Some of them are on a set schedule while others are more irregular which means my income is still pretty inconsistent.

Believe it or not, I'm still open to other work if something comes along that fits my skills and my schedule. I would like to offer my organizational, writing, and marketing services to other artists and entrepreneurs who have need of some part-time assistance. I'm also considering offering some workshops. More on that later.

If you're curious, here's the run-down on my jobs: 1) my music career, 2) a weekly open mic on Tuesday nights at Forza in Westminster, 3) a weekly open mic on Thursday nights at Highlands Cork & Coffee in Denver, 4) marketing copywriter for National Geographic Maps, 5) bookkeeper for Epiphany Lutheran Church, 6) bookkeeper/office assistant for Colorado Law Enforcement Officers' Association, 7) executive assistant for St. Patrick's Distributing (surgical equipment), 8) soloist (twice a month) at Living Water Unity Church, and 9) host of Stage C Arvada, a community variety show.

I'm so grateful for all the opportunities that have come my way, for the friends I've made, and for the courage I found to create jobs for myself where there weren't any. I know there are a lot of people out there struggling as I was (and still am, to some extent) and if I have any words of wisdom to share, they are: have confidence in your strengths and find ways to be of service using your gifts, don't be afraid to ask for help, and think outside your prior job experience. It's very empowering to focus on what you can give rather than what you can receive. Try it and let me know what happens.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

How You Can Help

If you've checked my schedule lately, you'll have noticed that I've got a lot of shows booked. You may be wondering why I'm playing out so much these days. You might assume that all these shows means things are going well financially. But I'll let you in on a little music biz secret. Most of the venues I play do not pay.

There was a time when coffeehouses would pay a small amount to their acts or give them a portion of sales, but that's not the environment we're playing in these days. Artists are playing for tips only. Every show is a gamble when it comes to whether or not it will even pay for the gas to get there or the promotional expenses, let alone the time to set up, perform, and tear down.

Even when venues do pay, it's a very small amount. The bottom line is, musicians have to have other means of income to pay the bills. Some can piece together a collection of music related jobs (teaching, gigging, CD sales, studio work, etc.), but most need a day job. The artists who can make a living at it in my genre spend their time on the road playing at "listening rooms" like Denver's Swallow Hill Music Association or house concerts.

Currently, performing and CD sales are my only income. While I hope to continue to perform and even expand beyond the Denver area to tour other regions this year, I'm in a dire situation financially at the moment. I've been an independent contractor for nine years, but am currently between jobs. It's been shocking to see how difficult the job market is right now. With over twelve years in admin support as an executive assistant, admin assistant, and office manager, I thought I'd surely be able to find something, even if only an entry level secretarial position, but so far that hasn't been the case.

So, I'm on my soapbox now to put the word out that I'm looking for work. If you have any leads on full-time, part-time, temporary, or contract work, please contact me at

And for the sake of my fellow musicians who were struggling even before the economy took a nose-dive, I'd like to invite to you read an educational hand-out that I wrote many years ago to educate audiences on what they can do to support independent musicians:

One of the ways you can help artists is to hire them for private parties or house concerts. To learn more about house concerts, read my October 2010 blog entitled "Your Living Room Was Made For Live Music."