Committing to a craft full-time is serious business, for me at least. It is scary and involves some serious butterflies of the fearful, unnerving variety.
I incorporated a songwriting business nearly a year ago, and I have been devoting a percentage of my time to do it ever since. I love songwriting. I am learning about how to be a business-oriented artist. But there have been obstacles, the greatest being how to find the time and energy to promote myself while working a full-time job.
I know that most artists have a paying gig that helps to fund their passion. I have been working in very much this way since I began learning the songwriting craft. In the final year of completing my dissertation, I began hoping out loud that I could be a full-time songwriter. In the year following earning my doctorate, I have moving beyond imagination to action to create career from pastime.
This shift has moving parts. It is one part emotional, another part spiritual, and a third part physical.
I can be quite driven and make great strides toward a goal when i am passionate about the work and determined to succeed. In my day job, I have been lucky these past few years to be relatively supported as an artist and to be part of a community of wonderful individuals; however, my passion for the most part was set aside. I was also living nearly three thousand miles from my partner, which meant that my heart was in a perpetual state of flux, divided as it was both emotionally and physically in two places. My decision to move from Lowell, Massachusetts to Prescott, Arizona was in a choice for my romantic heart and my songwriting heart.
Even still, every time people would ask me what I planned to do in Arizona, I would hear an echo after responding: I am going to be a full-time songwriter and musician.
What the hell are you thinking? The echo would respond, followed by variations on the theme of,
Are you insane, leaving a permanent job with the government to be an artist?
How old are you anyway? 18?
It is not the pursuit of a different path that is a big deal for me. I have pretty much been doing this my entire life in some way or another. It has not ever been easy—I have endured plenty of ridicule and insults over my life choices—but I have grown somewhat accustomed to doing things that terrify other people to their very core. I realized long ago that I would never be happy working at a job just because it paid the bills or allowed me to live a certain lifestyle. I had to be doing something that I felt was going to help me to make the world a better place while also allowing me to develop skills I found meaningful. I have always had high expectations for the change I am capable of effecting in the world, and this most recent venture represents a high level of expectation on the part of my most inner self.
So, here I sit in Arizona. The brick buildings and support from my artist community of Lowell are away but not forgotten. The confidence far I have gained from the work I accomplished in the past year for a foundation that is helping me move forward in this new space.
I am not alone, and I feel the fundamental importance of this choice, along with the deep-seated obligation I have to employ my skills and knowledge in this way.
I hope you will join me on this path. It is one that I pursue with you in my mind and heart.