Friday, January 22, 2010

Through the cracks

The idea to write about Hugh MacLeod's Ignore Everybody didn't originate with me.

Here's what happened. Sometime during the holiday season, I received e-mail from Derek Sivers, the founder of CD Baby. He offered to send a copy of Ignore Everybody or one of Seth Godin's books to the first 15 working/blogging musicians who responded.

We would share our thoughts about the book on our blogs, then send him the URL. He would post links to the reviews on his own site one month later.

It was a great opportunity not only to take part in some nifty communal creativity, but also to drive a bit o' traffic to the Cinder Bridge blog.

I responded to Derek too late to receive a free copy, but that didn't matter; I already owned Ignore Everybody. I told him I was in.

Today, exactly one month later, Derek put the links to the reviews up. My post wasn't on the list. Why? Because I hadn't written it yet.

I didn't forget. It was on my list of things to do. I just lost track of the time and thought I still had a week or so.

* * *

I'm at my best when I only have one big thing to focus on. There are always distractions, of course. There will always be bills to pay, errands to run, dishes to do. But I'm OK as long as I can mentally place them in orbit around the One Big Thing.

For a while now, however, my life has been pulling me in four or five different directions at once. There's the day job, which demands a lot of time and energy. There's the music, which turns out to be many focal points instead of one: songwriting, practicing and rehearsing, gigging, and promotion. There's advocacy for ME/CFS awareness, which overlaps with the music, but not entirely. There's all the other life stuff.

When I had fewer things competing for my attention, I was able to overcome my natural tendency toward total disorganization. (Mostly.) Now, stuff falls through the cracks. Actually, everything but the job falls through the cracks. Nothing gets my full attention. Nothing gets done as well as it should.

And of all the time-sucks I've listed above, there's nothing I'm willing to give up.

So there was a certain irony to my last post about the creative freedom one gets from a day job. Don't get me wrong. I meant every word. It's just that, especially right now, I can also see the other side.

If I supported myself by gigging for cover bands, I would also be honing my craft. I could apply all the practicing, rehearsal, and promotion to my overall goals as a musician.

* * *

I'm not the first creative type to face this conundrum, and I won't be the last. But the ones who are successful are the ones who learn how to deal with it. Somehow, they figure out a workaround.

My greatest fear is that I'll go my entire life without learning the "somehow."


Jonathan Kandell said...

Stating the obvious: and don't even think about having children.

cinderkeys said...

This has occurred to me more than once.

I don't know how parents do it. I honestly don't. Because whatever the competing demands on my time, they're nothing compared to the ones parents have. How do you guys get ANYTHING done? :)

Blue Bunny said...

my jannie feling she has too mutch things goeing on too and she needing to fokiss. and deside to beter manige she time. lukkily today is fulled wit promiss.