Ah, the “new year”. A time of new beginnings, creating resolutions that you don’t intend to keep ( or begin with good intentions) or, just another day with a new digit at the end.
Just as most people in the westernized world have gotten used to the idea of New years resolutions, I tend to use it as a preprogrammed reset point. However, I have gotten rid of making set resolutions and have decided to create reachable goals and a plan of shorter goals to get there.
2017 was a strange year as far as successes and setbacks. I composed my first Successful film score, Won a couple of Toastmaster’s Speech Contests-and thus improved my public speaking skills, paid off a good chunk of my student debt (more on that later) and managed to make some music with some good people along the way. However, I also got into a car accident, held 3 jobs at one point which exhausted me mentally and emotionally to the point that I had to give up two of them at various times in the journey of 2017(though rather than throwing a pity party, I did something about it darn it!), and don’t feel that I accomplished enough composing wise for my own personal satisfaction. That being said, I did manage to create some which are always a success and luxury I suppose.
Big Goal1)-Create more income….
…to pay off my debt faster BECAUSE I DON’T WANT TO BE A SLAVE TO THE LENDER and, I just want to work for myself DOING MUSIC within 5 years. This plan involves paying off my student loans in 3 or fewer years from January 2018, all the while preparing for the big plans in years 4 and 5.
This was a goal that I started working on in 2016. Coupled with my selfish desire to create my art and try to work in the industry that I got a degree in, I got a job at a music store and added that on top of my Manufacturing gig and Receptionist gig at the beginning of the year to increase income. I had hoped to transition to working full time at the music store eventually and also teach there like some of my co-workers had been. After January, I moved to “Part-time” between working reception and the Store, hoping to get good enough that I could work full time. However, at that time, I was not realizing that I would need to make more in base pay to justify this goal financially, the schedule was not conducive to what I neede to do to build myself personally at the time, and that I needed to build more experience teaching before thinking that I could even ask to teach there. Also, past fears (More on this in a future blog post) had prevented me from trying this in the first place back in my not so far away college days. The eventual almost full-time schedule (just short of getting benefits), having no weekends or days off for an extended period of time (plus driving in completely unpredictable pre Superbowl road construction traffic ranging 23 minutes to an hour and fifteen minutes each way some days), along with some other factors put a level of psychological stress on me that I just broke. I went down to only the receptionist job back in August, realizing that I need to recover (and that this is the job that could pay the bills, provide the consistent schedule that I need, and that I can happily do a good job). However, I learned a heck of a lot of what I need as a person to be happy, healthy, and most importantly stable, and there are some days I miss it, minus the schedule and driving chaos of course. These were my mistakes and lessons of 2017.
Mini Goal-Start Selling my Music
I don’t expect to make a lot but at least I am getting started.Recently, I Followed John Mackey’s advice and (Surprise!) I registered as a publisher with ASCAP in order to secure 100% of the funds as Coffee Seal Music for my self-published works. My calendar is filled with re-engraving schedules for my best works and will be released one by one. I also plan on approaching others about distributing these works once I have a few more ready to go by the end of March. Then, the advertising begins.
Mini Gaol-JUST START TEACHING
As stated before, I avoided this in college as I felt that I was not worthy since I opted not to be an education major. I was also afraid of taking jobs away from those who I felt deserved it more. I have since come to the realization that I am in fact a capable knowledgeable musician (hey, I pushed to make my teachers expect the same quality of work as the Ed. majors at least from me on my instrument) and that I enjoy giving people one off lessons (which included the Brass Pedagogy students as well). Also, several people out there teach privately without degrees, the few educational music talks I’ve given in Toastmasters have gone very well, and I love enriching others lives so why can’t/shouldn’t I? In addition to increasing my income, I hope that I can write better music for students in the future from this learning experience. Time will tell if it is meant to be.
So far I will start by teaching piano lessons in my apartment or, if it works out, 1-2 evenings at a local school.
Mini Goal -Keep educating myself and pick up some side gigs.
I will keep reading personal finance blogs and asking around for potential side gigs. 2018 is going to be busy.
In the End, All extra Money after Savings and Bills will go toward the loans because it’s preventing me from doing what I really want to do with my life-Creating Music with and for others and being stable enough to give more.
Big goal 2): Create More on a consistent basis.
This is pretty self-explanatory, especially since I fell short last year.
This year, I will put my calendar to use. It has scheduled times to create.
Also, I’ve made List of Blog and Social Media post Ideas for a rainy day and as another mini goal, I aim to post something at least once a week to start with. This is a good first benchmark for me and as I succeed in doing this for a few months, I will aim to add more like two posts a week, then three, etc).
My next mini goal and addition to making sure that I am creating on a constant basis is that I will be doing a Thing a week challenge with my good friend and fantastic artist peer Annaliese Torella. More on that Soon.
Also, THE CALENDAR HAS EARLY MORNING SET TIMES TO ACCOMPLISH THESE TASKS TO AVOID DISTRACTION!!!
Big Goal 3) Work on anxiety issues associated with creating and becoming a member of my musical community.
I have realized that most of my anxiety comes from my own trait of annalizing everything in a given situation and second-guessing myself often as a result. Additionally, It has been a few years since I’ve had constant guidance on making decisions that affect a career (something that I know many artists struggle with once leaving school). This does not help, especially as I become paralyzed with an overwhelming amount of choices and sometimes wind up doing nothing as a result. Also, being perceived the wrong way and misjudged permanently scares the heck out of me, which has prevented me from taking action too many times before now.
Mini goal- Get over my anxieties related to looking for work
Right now, I’m reading Break Into The Scene by Seth Hanes, which gives a good battle plan for finding gigs, giving back, and even how to email strangers, one of my biggest fears. I will be trying out his advice in future interactions.
Mini Goal-Get out and interact with the community more
I am doing this by Picking something from the list that the American Composers Forum emails with local events and attending at least one event or concert every 2 weeks.
Additionally, Every Friday morning before work, I will be emailing someone each week, even if it is just to say hello, or, in the case of releasing music, to bring it to someone’s attention who may be interested. I hope to get better at this as time progresses.
Lastly, the ACF is graciously helping me (Seriously, these guys are that awesome!) find a tutor for a few lessons as I am offering to barter my skills from copyist work to pet sitting and Yard work, in order to have more of a grounding of which direction I should go and narrow my choices down a bit for next years goals.
Eventually, I want to do my art on a full-time basis, so why not use this year to start with the baby step of semi part-time. Also, maybe if I get out there, I might get some gigs to help fund my financial goal as well!
Overall, I feel that I am still bumbling like Alex Shapiro said she did for many years but I’m doing my best and have last years habits and lessons under my belt and this years plans ready to adhere to the best of my ability.
What are some of your 2018 goals, music related or otherwise? Please let me know in the comments as I would love to hear about them.