I’ve always been a Journaler. Each time I move (far too often) I find myself refilling my shelves, chest drawers and storage boxes with 2 decades worth of lined notebooks, blank hardcovers, dollar-store logbooks, field guides and organizers-turned-journals and, oh yes, even a few sacred diaries guarded by lock and key (so that when my brothers made an unjust comment or ate the last bowl of Golden Grahams I could stare at them icily, produce my diary, unlock it in front of them, and write with furious purpose. Take that.) Pages marked with ink, pastel, paint, chalk, magazine clippings; dripping with poetry, hope, disquietude, confession. Boxes of dusty books that chronicle me.
My love for handmade, tangible contemplation has extended into my adult life. Sometimes when I’m really upset my partner will ask me “Do we need to go to the craft store?” I’ll snap, “Don’t patronize me! … and yes. please.” There’s something about a row of untouched Crayolas that eases that ache in my heart. So when the world of Online Journaling emerged, I tried it out (think: livejournal, circa 1999, pink font on pink background), but I quickly left it behind. It just couldn’t hold a candle to my land of chalk doodles and inked-out aspirations.
This week I have started a 9 week course that will challenge my relationship with technology. This week myself, along with a gang of members of The Songwriter’s Association of Canada have opened up Chapter One Ariel Hyatt’s Music Success in 9 Weeks. Full Disclosure: when I learned the title of the book I scrunched up my face and thought twice about this “social media challenge” I had signed up for. Joining a supportive group to learn much-needed web based and mobile technological skills? Yes. Buying into the doomed idea that if I just do this one thing, then my life will be set? That ship has sailed (loaded with a cargo haul of self-help books and scam diets). Luckily, I got over myself rather quickly, and went ahead with the plan. To my delight, the book begins by explaining the title, “…I’m not saying that your entire music career will be made (whatever that means these days)…” The title apparently refers to the intention of the project: ramping up the business side of art. This will be accomplished by stepping out of our artist brains and plunging into the ever-changing world of music marketing, media interaction, and career organization. Each week there’s a new focus, new tasks, and one new blog to write about the process. Thus, my first blog post since 1999.
To aid me in this social safari, I have got myself a Blogging Buddy for the challenge. Not only is Karyn Ellis a talented songwriter who spins tales with her guitar that’ll break your heart, but I’m pretty sure she can also crack a whip faster than a 39-year-old Harrison Ford, should I begin to slip on my blogging efforts. Thanks Karyn!
WEEK ONE is all about setting goals. Oh, Captain, how I dread the goal. I am getting better at it, with practice and time. But arghghghh – I would rather do anything than write down a single life goal. To prove this statement to myself, this week saw me tackle ancient items of my to-do lists of house chores; whip up daring new dishes for dinner; make appointments; go to gym and yoga classes; stick every newspaper clipping I collected from my childhood local paper into a new photo album and catch up on any internet TV episodes I may have missed since 2010. Yep, anything but take a goal from my brain and put it on a piece of paper. At the end of the week I had the most organized bathroom closet in Kingston, but still no goals.
Look, I’m no stranger to goals. This past year I completed (finally, this time) Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. Holy Goaly. My (beloved) chalkboard where I do much of my songwriting was transformed into a mad mind map of my musical aspirations.
Yep. Goals done. From now until forever. Why would I want to ever do them again? That was hard. Can’t I just keep them in the back of my mind and focus instead on my everyday failures? I’m so good at that. I’d succeed at that for sure.
But come the end of the week, I was out of excuses (and unsystematic tupperware cupboards), so I sat me down with old goals and new ideas, and started to write. The goal sheets from the book were helpful for me – identifying goals for career, money, and life – for the next 12 months, and for a lifetime. I kept my list short and succinct – with permission to add more as I go along. I’ll sum it up for you super-speedy style (read someone else’s goals? I’d rather go shopping for a new caddy to hold all my household cleaning products). These next few months will be about finishing the EP. I won’t tell you how long it’s been – suffice it to say every time the doorbell rings I expect to find FACTOR on the other side, demanding their money back. There is 2 songs left. TWO. And…they shall be done by April 15th. I mean done done. Mixed, mastered, printed in hard copy. Now it’s in the blogosphere and so it shall be done. As for my social media goals, revamping my website and figuring out how Twitter works top the list (apologies to my followers). These, and all the other goals fall under the larger heading of producing, sharing and inspiring art as a part of what artists do to be present, learn about and contribute to communities, societies, humanities. Small beans, I know.
So concludes my first blog post. Each week I’ll be sharing with you my working through my weekly tasks, career goals and life aspirations. I will, however, never share with you how long it took me to create a blog and write this post. You should probably just imagine me sitting down with fantastic concentration while pithy phrases overflow from my mind to my fingertips to the keyboard. Ya, do that.
Stay tuned for next Monday’s post: The Pitch!