I am an independent artist. What this means in real terms is that I do everything myself. So one of the questions I get asked most frequently is: how do I balance everything? (‘Everything’ meaning: Art / Business / Life).
It’s a good question…
For me, Art comes first. (Naturally ;-) )
I mean: actually doing art comes first. Making things. Digging thru the mud. Getting my hands dirty. Diving deep into the morass of crazy, messy, iterations that make up the bones of what I do. This is key. Because it’s my centre. It’s where everything else comes from and it’s what I love best. It’s the bullseye.
State of mind is key. If I wait until late in the day, my head fills up with thoughts, desires, and tasks that demand attention. There are endless pulls from the internet, mails that have to be answered, errands to be run. If I sit down to make art with a brain like a tornado, the practice will, as a rule, be shallower than if I do it from a clear place. So it happens first. Everyday. Which is awesome for so many reasons. Not least of which is, that it’s as pleasurable as waking up and rolling into a river of molten chocolate, without the inevitable black demon sugar crash.
So: Art #1.
Next comes the ‘business’ side of what I do.
One of the things you should know is: I don’t generally do things that I don’t have any interest in. (This is not to be confused with ‘I don’t like working hard’, or ‘I don’t like being uncomfortable’, because I enjoy both those things. I like working hard, and I think that in order to grow, you HAVE to be uncomfortable. So I like that too.) How can I justify this approach? Well…
In my life, the 2 things that I love to do more than anything else are:
Making Art from that place, and
Connecting as truthfully and as deeply as I can with people.
(Also, I like coffee. But not as much as the first 2 things.)
(Actually, y’know what? Hold on. Let’s say: Making art + Coffee and Connecting with people + Coffee). Ok. Better. Moving on.
So, you can see from this, that I am eminently suitable for the job of independent artist. Make a good thing. Connect with people. Give people the good thing, and talk about the good thing with other people. Rinse and repeat. In a nutshell, that is my life, and it’s the best life I can think of. Which brings me to a Point of Much Importance.
Personally, I don’t think that you should have to do anything that you are not naturally drawn to in order to be ‘successful’. (Oh! the controversy! You could cut it!). What you actually have to do is closer to: working out what kind of peg you are, and then finding the right hole. (And if you can’t find the right hole, then you can always grab a hammer and make your own. ;-) )
That’s the Business.
Finally, we come to the ‘Life’ part of the equation. This one is super easy because, outside of my work, I don’t really have one.
*Cue: tragic sound of violins*
(or NOT) ;-)
Sounds bad right? Until you consider that my ‘Job’ is essentially doing the 2 things that I love most. All the time. Everyday, everyday. ;-) In fact, if you made me stop doing those things and somehow forced ‘time off’ on me, (you can pry my guitar from my cold, dead fingers, etc etc), I would pace my unhappy monkey cage until you let me do music again. So, what I do for a living is my life. Nil Balancing needed. Done. (mic drop).
In the final reckoning, it is my contention that: people do not have to work jobs that they hate. If everyone started doing solely what they love tomorrow, and focused on creating massive value for others thru that, then there would be total chaos…
…At first. ;-) But then things would start to iron themselves out. Why? Because, in our hearts, we all want to do different things. How could it be otherwise? We are an endless united spectrum of diversity. There are people who want to be doctors and nurses; there are people who enjoy cleaning things; there are people who love farming and growing good food; and there are people who find great satisfaction selling that food to others. When you get right down to it, there are people that love to do almost anything. The lie that: in order make a living, you have to spend a vast chunk of your life doing something you hate, is bullshit of the first order. The truth is: if you are providing massive value to others with whatever it is that you are doing, then there will be a place for whatever it is you love to do. You will find your own balance naturally.
And the world will be shinier for it.
In other News: What Actually Happened This Week:
I did music. A lot. I demoed of a bunch of tracks that I am thinking of recording for my next release. I got deep into writing some other stuff. I did some teaching, and I played a lot of piano. I mused about starting an electric blues side project. I also made significant inroads towards upgrading my entire studio. (‘Course, until then, it’s still quilts on the walls in the middle of the night….)
Albums were sold. Connections were made. Conversations were started. And much love ensued.
My name is James Radcliffe and I am a 100% audience supported independent artist. If you like what I do (and can afford it) then please consider buying some of my music. Each purchase really makes a big difference to me and 10% of every sale goes to a charity which: houses, feeds, clothes, and educates orphaned children in Nepal.
Also, every month I send out a newsletter packed with Interesting and Exclusive Things. If you sign up today you’ll also get 3 FREE tracks of my music as a welcome gift.
And lastly, if you’d like to find out what I’m up to on a more day-to-day basis then here is my brain on Twitter: