Do You Have What It Takes?

5 Bitter Truths

Being an artist doesn’t pay—up front anyway.  You should have a good day job, one you can tolerate and that will allow you the freedom you need to pursue your art.  Because you’re going to have to put up with crappy turnouts, non-existent sales, and people always wanting something for nothing.

Let’s go over several Bitter Truths that an artist has to swallow to still hold the ol’ head up in society.

  1. Life owes you nothing. Work hard and do your very best even when no one appreciates your efforts.
  2. People only like you if you can do something for them. If you aren’t adding value to someone’s life, then they aren’t going to pay you mind, give you time, or shell out their hard earned dollar.
  3. People want you to let them in for free, give them a free copy, take them to dinner, and tell them what wonderful fans/promoters/producers/et al. they are.
  4. If you want to play at a venue, have a signing at a bookstore, hang your art in a gallery, or whatever, you’re going to have to shell out the cash to make it happen. Even if the promoter thinks you’re cool.

And if you don’t believe me about #4 then read this: How Much Does It Cost To Make A Hit Song?

Sometimes, it really does feel like this is an artist’s target audience…

Hard to swallow, isn’t it? But I think it’s always been this way underneath the surface. This is why sheer talent isn’t always an indication of stardom. Some people are wildly talented and never go anywhere, at least not until after they die. Some people are talentless to the point that they are anti-talent, but they are wildly successful while still alive.

Is it a matter of wanting it more? Yes, but that isn’t the whole of it. Some people are so charismatic, so cunning, and have just enough talent that it becomes a winning combination. Madonna comes to mind. There isn’t one way of doing this, but you have to ask yourself, is it the process or the end result that matters most to you?

If it’s the process, then you can’t help but make art. You will be making art until death puts you in the ground. It’s like a fever inside. Even if you aren’t generating the physical product, you will always be creating.

If it’s the end result, then you will be promoting yourself. You create to have something to promote and that too is its own fever. You may not have talent, but you know a lot of people and you can get the money you need to fund your projects.

If it’s both, that’s where I think the winning combination is. I’ve heard too many artists who are more process-oriented complain about the promotion necessary to get the work to the public. I’ve seen too many artists who are more end-result-oriented unable to generate truly moving creations. You have to have both fevers to be successful and even then:

Bitter Truth #5:  Success Isn’t Guaranteed

Happy Holidays,.. from Me to You!

I.O.’s Aside: Wow, people who can do art like this amaze me. It’s imperative that we support the art we love (music, writing, film, dancing). That means we have to shell out something in exchange for the effort the artist has put into creating such beauty-such meaning. Effort counts, getting the word out counts, and investing in the art counts. I’m broke, trying to survive by selling my art, but I can at least get the word out. Something amazing this way comes…

Creating Your Life

I like lists. They make me happy. They keep me focused. Lists are my friends.

I tell my sons to make lists. They haven’t discovered the wisdom of such a simple task, but isn’t it the simple things that offer the most satisfaction?

Caroline Miller, in Creating Your Best Life, swears by them. My bucket list came from her book. I think that book was the doorway into the crazy and amazing life I’m currently living. Lists help us focus on what we want in life–our goals. Lists help us break down those goals into meaningful steps. And it may take a little while, but if you follow those lists, you’ll get where you want to go.

I enjoy reading other people’s lists. There is one going around Facebook right now that requires people to list a certain number of facts about themselves. The number is assigned by the person whose list status you “liked.” I received 25 and I list them below (with tongue-in-cheek) so that you can get to know me better.

  1. I’m a MILF not a Cougar. Remember, it’s all about mystery.
  2. I want to live in a house that can travel anywhere.
  3. I’m Irish-Italian with a touch of Viking, Greek, and Egyptian.
  4. My life is mostly 3Ws: Working, Working out and Writing.
  5. I’m trying to fit in the 4th W, making Whoopee, but haven’t found the right person yet.
  6. I’m a published author as of 2013 but I’ve been writing coherent short stories since I was 12.
  7. I’m an introvert but that only means I need to recharge alone after I’ve hung out with awesome people.
  8. I love to sing karaoke and my bucket list includes an entry that I will sing karaoke in one major city of each state and the District of Columbia.
  9. My job lets me travel all over the country. I’ve met fabulous, interesting people and have managed to sing karaoke in CA, GA, FL, CO, VA, TX and MD (I just started this bucket item last year).
  10. I’m pagan.
  11. I’m a Jesus freak.
  12. I’m also the Morrighan’s hand maiden.
  13. I’ve embraced the mystery of sex-blood-death.
  14. I am a metal junkie.
  15. I do not care for donuts but I like meat, mead, metal, coffee and Mr. Krasman’s metal reviews.
  16. My son is an awesome drummer for Xstrophy who will be playing the Fishhead Cantina in Halethorpe, MD on 11/23 and yes, I will be there, probably selling merchandise.
  17. I have a wicked sense of humor.
  18. I’m too smart for my own good.
  19. My cat’s name is Mr. Hanky the Christmas Pooh in honor of the cat who preceded him, Pooh Bear.
  20. My other cat’s name is Research & Development (R.D.) because he is an idiot.
  21. Both my cats are from a rescue shelter (they make the best pets).
  22. I enjoy doing things that scare the crap out of me emotionally because it reminds me that I should live instead of giving a crap what others think.
  23. My favorite song right now is Get Over It by Battlecross because they must have met my ex-boyfriend and thought he was a complete douche as well.
  24. I think life is hilarious.
  25. I took a Brief Strengths test that ranked the 24 human strengths in order based on my answers. At #1 was Courage/Valor because I am a great person to have at your back. At #24? Humility.

 

Image

Singing my little heart out!

 

I encourage you to comment. Pick one of the following numbers: 3, 5, 7, 9. Tell me that many things about yourself. Dig deep. Say crazy things that you know are true, things that you dream about doing, things that scare you witless because what would [name of influential person in your life whom you don’t want to disappoint] think?

After you’re done, I want you to look at that list. I want you to put a star next to one of the items that you think is important enough to pursue. I want you to put exclamations after it on the post. I want you to paste it on my blog, right here, in big bold letters, that this is something you’re going to do or that you’re going to cultivate within yourself.

Once you’ve made your choice, go do it. Make your lists. Wade into the fray. Give your battle cry. I’ll be cheering you on. This blog has your back.