How do you divide your time?
For me, the hardest thing about this life is finding the balance between the creativity and the day job. My dream is to have the creative endeavors make enough money to pay the bills, so I can devote my full time to creativity.
But, in the meantime, I have a day job. I enjoy it. It suits me, but it does suck up time and energy.
So, what do you do with the leftover time?
Right now I’m focused on several creative endeavors:
…and the accompanying work that goes with it, planning, rehearsal, arranging, the yo-yo pull of life force energy that comes with being a performer. Before a performance, I go through some sort of “brown out”, in terms of life force, etc. Then, when it’s time to perform, boom! You’re full ON. It’s like someone turned on a million watt bulb, and everything you do is soooo effortless and works. But, still, moving between the phases takes a tremendous amount of energy
This is THE challenge of the moment. I bought the acoustic/electric for the sole purpose of recording sessions. But, it takes awhile to get a guitar set up. I need to adjust the frets. The strings I bought aren’t gonna cut it at all. So, I ordered new strings, and I hope that problem solves itself soon. If I have to order strings, and then more and more…eventually I’ll find what I want. Most people seem to like a bright tone out of an acoustic guitar. Not me. Years ago, I found a style of strings called “flat wound” that work best for me. But, I trusted my guitar guru to set up the guitar, and now that he is gone, I have no idea what brand name those strings I used were. Setting up a guitar is like setting up a new computer or setting the timing belt on a car. It is necessary. It takes time. I like the new guitar fine. It’s one I would have regretted not buying. But, still, I’m frustrated because it’s not MY guitar.
My favorite guitar is the one I grew up playing. It’s a classical VITO from the 70s, and it’s set up exactly to my needs. I have a Sigma Martin that I play and a Strat electric. I have others, but rarely get them out. So, of these three, I’m used to them. I WANT to play them. So, having to adjust to having a guitar in my hands that’s not MY guitar, I’ve been rather frustrated this week. The other option is to have internal pickups installed on my existing guitars, and that scares me to pieces. What if one of them gets messed up? It’s too much of a risk.
So, I will work this guitar problem, and I will get through it. But, it, like everything else, takes up time.
As I mentioned in my earlier blog post, I pulled out a manuscript this week and started editing. I had written this in 2009, and it’s only now that I can deal with it. What surprises me is how clean the manuscript is. I had no idea it was that clean after the first draft. This book isn’t requiring much work at all.
When I finish writing a book, I go through some sort of postpartum depression. It’s so bad, I find myself wondering why I even want to be a writer. But, I have to remind myself the depression phase will be over…at least at some point, and the benefits of being a writer are constant. Nothing about this is easy. It takes such focus and dedication. I know that every creative person has a process–the means by which they bring creative work into the world. I find it fascinating to learn each writer’s process. For me, the thing that made the most difference was having a laptop. I had tried, for years to write at a desk. Well, I’m short, and my feet don’t touch the floor, so I was physically uncomfortable and wouldn’t stay there long. I got a laptop. Boom! My writing took off. I can work comfortably (sitting in my easy chair). Another thing was…I had to learn to type quickly. Before my typing got up to speed, I would try to write, but my brain went faster than my fingers and I’d get frustrated.
So…figuring all this out…it takes time. And there is so much to learn. And so much to process. And so much to figure out. Thank goodness now…there is a payoff. Not money, but recognition. Friends asking me how many books I have in print, and I tell them, and they kinda get that “wow” look on their faces. You struggle for YEARS as a nobody, trying to break in. I’m trying soooo hard, now that I’m on the other side–to enjoy it to every fullest moment!
The fourth level of division of creativity (at least this month) is
The songwriting is starting to bubble to the surface. I can’t force it. I can’t force any of this. When it’s there, it’s there. But, I think, up till now, I’ve mined all that is in me, so the songwriting had slowed down. Yes, you can write. You can write every day. But it’s the same stuff, over and over again. I call it “cardboard”. When you have new things to say and new feelings and new experiences, and you bring that to songwriting…that’s when magic happens. I’ve got several new things going on in my life. Thank goodness the songwriting is happening. Last night I sat at my piano, pen in hand, thinking about how much I had missed that process.
Creativity…to bring forth something to the world, that the world has not yet experienced. It’s like you’ve been given a gift, and I try, so hard, not to take this gift or this process lightly.
I’d love to hear about the creative process for other people. Sharing all of this…that’s what’s worth it.