The artist’s journey is not an easy one. Finding your unique voice as an artist is a beast I’ve been grappling with for a while, and continues to snarl and snort at me every day. A problem like “finding yourself” seems big—overwhelming even—and certainly in my case can often lead to stagnation. It’s only through breaking it down into concrete action items that I can move forward and feel good about living out my passion. Here are 5 things I’m doing to help me through this time of searching.
- Talking to other artists. I’m so blessed to know some very passionate creators, but the way my life is right now, I have to seek them out. I’m making plans to meet up with artists I respect so I can pick some brains. It’s important to have other artists to talk to about ideas.
- Starting rehearsals. I’ve determined that all I need is to find ONE person who wants to work with me, and begin rehearsing my original material towards the creation of a live show. What form that live act will take I do not know right now. But I have songs, and booking a rehearsal is a start.
- Booking a show. One thing has become clear: I need to get back on stage. Even for just 5 minutes. The YouTube videos have been a remarkable learning experience for me, especially in terms of my songwriting, but I need to perform for audiences again in order to feel that what I’m doing actually matters to people and is grounded in reality. And I need to feel the spark of what excites me about performing, and feeding off of an audience, which I always found so brightly in solo improv comedy. So I have booked a 5 minute spot on the November 28 Comedy Open Mic night at the Making Box Theatre for which I have absolutely no plan! See you there!
- Being open-minded and patient. My particular set of skills may not be and probably is not conducive to a tried-and-true artistic format. And while that can be frustrating and unsettling, it’s also not ultimately a bad thing. For instance, if I were best suited to being a conventional “pop star” then perhaps my path would be slightly better laid out for me. But what I am best suited for is not as obvious, and so the path ahead is less certain. However, if I can create something that is uniquely me, then yes it will take longer to develop, but it will be fresh and new, and impossible to duplicate without me.
- Striking while the iron is hot. As winter sets in, and the days becomes shorter, energy tends to wane. We need more sleep, more downtime, and I’m ok with that. I’m ok with not creating as much during this time. I’m ok with this period of reflection, rehearsal, and reaping what I’ve sown. I will not force myself to write each day or each week as I have done. I have enough to go forward, I am enough to go on. But! If an idea grabs me, I will tend to it. If at all possible, I will set aside the daily routine to follow inspiration. And I hope in this way to find passion in my work again. May it not be a mundane and monotonous chore to write songs, but an act of self-expression and vitality. And in this way, may I accept the winter and also rage against the dying of the light.
If you are an artist who has found ways to move forward in your development, I would love to hear them!