You have brains in your head, and feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own way and you know what you know,
And you are the one who’ll decide where to go
When I was a child, thanks to my Dad, I had a monthly subscription to receive Dr. Seuss books and all the children’s classics. Little did I know I would draw from it forty years later in my blog on Ariel Hyatt’s Week 8: Creating a Continuum. This weeks foray has been a practical roll up your sleeves, music business marketing “funnel” model on creating a long-term financial stream of income through creative, strategic planning. Lots to consider. We also took a look at the current popular mode for fund-raising: fan funding or crowd funding like Pledge Music, Kickstarter. I have experience in crowd funding as I raised partial funds quite successfully with my fans for my first two CD’ s. It is the most meaningful avenue to raise funds I know, and is a vital part of my current CD process too. I have been deeply touched and fortified by the many kind folks that have given me their financial support to “keep singing”. Join http://christiegracemusic.com/crowd.php if you want to be part of this ongoing journey with me.
I think the universal challenge for any artist, at whatever level he or she may be, is to consistently generate a steady income with one’s art, while also keeping one’s passion burning. How this unfolds in each one’s life is as unique as one’s thumbprint. What feels right to one may feel like prostituting oneself to another. So finding one’s sweet spot of how to think outside the box while still maintaining one’s artistic integrity is uppermost. Not pride so much, but I think one’s dignity has to be honored.
Most of the time, I fly by the seat of my pants and enjoy the unpredictable nature of the unknown, yet I also get weary of the stress this can cause. In the past, I have never let lack of cash flow stop me from doing anything I felt was important, thus I have taken many financial risks in my life with mixed results. I’ve become less impulsive and more pragmatic now before making any big financial commitments. I abhor the stereotype of a “struggling artist” but I must be honest, it is a path with many bends so I think a little strategic funneling of new income ideas is most worthwhile.
I am also finding the more I live within my means, without whining, the happier I am, because accumulating more debt is a endless black hole that slowly drains away one’s self esteem. And who needs that? We artists already have enough esteem issues with our perfectionist tendencies and hypersensitive natures. Yet let’s face it- few on this planet except perhaps the Dalai Lama, ever feel “good enough”. Perhaps that’s why we are all so driven and could use a dose of my CEO girlfriend’s blunt “get over it” remedy. We all know the source of true wealth is not what you have, but who you are. So, the primary strategy perhaps before doing anything else is to learn to be at home in one’s imperfect perfection, as I think this can make all the difference in one’s emotional, physical and musical bank account.
So, with all this in mind I also feel a powerful framework for anyone is to create a personal life map. It helps line one’s arrow to a chosen target while also making it easier to handle the inevitable unexpected happenings of life. There are many ways to do this but I learned a particular approach at a healing workshop at Esalen, CA with Susan Anderson that I like. Flexibility in its design is key. Interesting to note: Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel just under five years and in less than five years Shakespeare wrote “Hamlet”, “Othello”, “King Lear”, “Macbeth” and five other immortal plays. So… I decided to give it a go. If this appeals to you, first you create your own imaginary dream house with no budget and no limits. Design it fully and move in. Then, you define where you want to be in your life five years (or two) from now. Imagine your self fully living that life in your beautiful, safe house. Then trace your steps backwards. Record the actions you took to change and create your desired life-to the present. This becomes both your safe refuge when the going gets rough and your long-term visionary context. It is completely fluid, and adjustable depending on how you feel . This simple imaginary practice has diffused discouragement bouts and stifling situations while giving me a subtle yet tangible sense that all is unfolding exactly as it should. Susan’s intense workshop was the springboard for my new songs that are on my new CD, which are some of my most brave to date. And now thanks to Ariel’s suggestions, I am making new adjustments to this plan, by adding aspects of the continuum model as well. They are creative experiments I will add to slowly create some new streams of income. If you are curious or have ideas to share, do join my monthly newsletter http://christiegracemusic.com/news-sign-up.php
I am really glad I have taken the steps this past 8 weeks to learn more new tools and give myself the room to carve new pathways. Will they work? Well, I’ll never know unless I do it, and regardless of what happens, I am all the better for the experience.
Thanks for reading.
Stay tuned for the last installment in a few days.