5 Steps For Achieving Both Your Artistic And Career Goals
While many artists may maintain that music is all about passion and feeling, the fact remains that, as enjoyable as music can be to create, it isn't always the most lucrative of hobbies, particularly early on. Here we breakdown how an artist can work to simultaneously achieve both their artistic goals, as well as those which are more career oriented.
Guest Post by Anthony Cerullo on the Sonicbids Blog
Most musicians would say that playing music is life. Every note, chord, breath, and beat are constant reminders to musicians that they are alive. It gives a sense of purpose that simply can not be replicated. These feelings are what some musicians live for, and it's easy to see why so much passion comes with this art form.
As much as professional musicians say they play for the love of the music, that love alone won't pay the bills. Artists need to support their creativity with income, but it's not that easy. Some musicians feel the worlds of art and commerce have no place together. It might be true that many aspects of commerce go against the values of art, but there's simply no way around it: financial success is imperative for your career.
The only option is to embrace the business of music – but you don't have to sacrifice creativity to do so. There's a place for artistic goals and career goals to exist in harmony. Here are a few tips to help you with that balance.
1. Record your goals and plans
Simply knowing that you have to balance your creative and career goals is not enough. Going into this blindly will result in a mangled map with no clear direction.
A little organization goes a long way. Start by simply grabbing a computer, tablet, iPhone, pad of paper, or what have you, and write down the various goals you have. Organize them any way you want, but it helps to start with short-, medium-, and long-term objectives. Don't write an essay here; just a few quick points will do. Do this with both your artistic goals and your career goals so there are two organized columns. Perhaps a short-term artistic goal is to finish up that song you've been writing, and a long-term business goal will be to sell a certain amount of albums by the end of the year.
2. Abide by your plans
Just writing your goals down isn't enough; you actually have to act on them. To help with this, create a schedule with the sole purpose of organizing your action plans. Try scheduling something every day and follow through with it. You could even focus certain days of the week on artistic duties, and dedicate other days to career duties. Link these daily activities to your list of career/artistic goals.
Work in increments and set a reasonable schedule that you can handle. You don't want to burn yourself out, especially if you're new to this whole music career thing. Failure will happen, but it will be less likely to occur if you're mindful of your workload.
3. Stay efficient
Once you find the appropriate workload, do your best to stay efficient and consistent. Picture yourself as a well-oiled machine of career building. The hard part of constructing is already done. You're at optimal performance now, and as long as you keep up regular maintenance, you'll stay at optimal performance.
It might help to set up a separate workspace. If you want to eat, play music, and send out press kits all from the comfort of a La-Z-Boy, then go for it, but it probably won't make for the most productive experience. Ideally, you want a separate workspace void of any distractions.
Tackle one task at a time and then move to another. Don't move on unless you've completed an objective 100 percent. The last thing you want is a pile of objectives only half-accomplished. Make a list and check off each item as you go, if that helps.
4. Pace yourself
You know all that stuff about the well-oiled machine we just talked about? Well, it's true, but here's the thing: you want that well-oiled machine to pace itself. Even machines need a break sometimes. There's always work to be done, but that means it'll be there when you get back.
Even though you've set yourself up with a reasonable workload, you should still put healthy practice and work techniques into action. Sitting for hours on the computer doesn't sound tiring, but it can really take a toll on your health. Make sure to schedule regular breaks and exercises. Get up at least twice an hour and try some of these exercises out. Don't forget to eat and drink water, too. Surprisingly, that can happen.
5. Keep an open mind
A crucial part in balancing creative and career goals involves opening the doors of perception. Without getting too heady, it simply means you should keep an open mind.
As you continue to grow, opportunities will naturally present themselves. It's important to hear these opportunities out, regardless of how you may perceive them. Even if you pursue an opportunity that doesn't work out, consider it a learning experience. After all, failure is a crucial part of growth, so don't be afraid to pursue it.
Anthony Cerullo is a nomadic freelance writer and keyboard player. In his spare time, he can be found reading, hiking mountains, and lying in hammocks for extended periods of time.