If art is my therapy, when did the situation become me expecting to get paid for my therapy? I asked myself this question a lot when I transitioned from being a full-time musician and pursued my passion for teaching instead.
Now, several years into my teaching career, it seems I have a phantom limb if I’m not writing and a phantom limb if I’m not teaching.
Using my "extra" time this summer, I’m out to fix this phantom limb scenario, play the guitar more, and make a sustainable plan for balancing both pursuits.
Establishing jobs and side-hustles that can function as feedback loops - as you become better at one you can become better at the other - has always been a goal.
In my situation, teaching is a structured craft inadvertently helping me write better songs. In turn, as I study history for the songs, write about creativity for the blog, and research about finances, I have interesting information to offer and integrate into my classroom.
Taking the Pressure Off
I do not regret taking the pressure off my creativity to pursue a stable career I also enjoy. Now I can create my music with far less financial worry. The attitude of - like me or don’t, I’ll still be here writing what I enjoy - has been very healthy for me.
However, the fact I was finally getting to know myself as an artist, I saw what the next level was, I was getting opportunities there, and I decided to quit out of fear? That part of my story disgusts me.
I quit because I couldn’t keep up with my own ideas, I didn’t think I could handle being a musician and a mother, I didn't like promoting myself, and I was afraid of success (and failure). My faulty reasoning is worth exploring as I embark on yet another vulnerable task (launching Savvy History into the online world).
I created Savvy History because I don’t want to leave this earth disappointed in myself for not self-actualizing as an artist. I’m on a journey to optimize money skills in order to create more time for songwriting, recording, and finishing my story. (I also desire to make "less whiny songs" in case I pass away and all my children have to remember me by are recordings of my brain in my early 20s.)
Here’s another whiny song from the past:
The Risk Management Plan
I have enormous belief in my current unrecorded songs because they are tied to large universal ideas. They are on my mind all the time (but I don’t seem to make time for them)! When I play my new songs live, I receive far more support and direct response than I ever received from the five albums I sold when I was a full-time musician. If those albums were good enough for me to make a living with, it's not surprising how I'm left wondering about the potential of these songs.
Unlike James Dyson, I'm beyond the point of doing crazy business maneuvers (like reverse-mortgaging our house due to an overwhelming belief in better vacuums). However, starting a weekly writing practice has helped me explore why I lost my creative confidence (and how we are all occasionally sucked up into a dirt-bag).
As of now, my thoughts about getting paid for what I enjoy are very complex and there is a lot to unpack. Like many people, I'd say I have an overall "inner-complex" regarding creativity and money.
Therefore, my “risk management plan” for this recording cycle is a high-quality day job. Luckily, I put in some upfront work a few years back to have this option.
I enjoy teaching because it adds value to my life in countless ways. I've also received plenty of feedback I'm good at it (meaning - I make a difference in the lives of others). Becoming good at something is half the battle to finding fulfillment while practicing it. In addition, I enjoy the schedule, the kids, and my current co-workers. I suppose part of my thankfulness also comes from the myriad of unfitting day jobs that filled my early 20s.
Finding Time to Launch Savvy History?
I don’t see myself going back to full-time entrepreneurship anytime soon - even if it is an option monetarily and even if it would speed up the album process. I've also realized I’d like to live through a recession as an adult before making any firm decisions about a sabbatical to help me launch Savvy History. I will have this option after next year. I'm not sure what to make of this yet or whether it will be appropriate for me.
In essence, I believe it is possible to be both a great teacher and a great musician. Finding time to do both of them at the caliber I would like to is hard though. Money management skills are helping me figure this out and create options. (I'll start by batching music projects during the summer and dropping other side hustles - like guitar lessons - to make time for new projects).
In other news, I'm excited to play a show next week. I'll make sure to take a few pictures and post them on Insta!