Booked and ready to gig, but short on creative time?

Rainbow after the storm; photo IAS.

If you do music fulltime, you already have an idea of the challenges. Unless you have a team of helpers, you’re where the buck stops.

You do the promoting. And the booking. And the contract bids. And equipment maintenance. Press inquiries. Booking agency contacts. Taxes. Practices, and whatever else demands attention.

Amid all that, where is the creative time? 

The answer to that question is simple. Time to create your music and/or learn new covers has to be set aside just as all the other nuts and bolts chores. After all, that’s why you’re doing music for a living.

I remember a conversation with a fulltime musician some months ago. With a jam packed schedule, she was frustrated by her lack of creative time. I told her sometimes you just have to stop whatever it is you are doing—after all, some things can wait—and let go of the tedious tasks.

I also told her something I’ve experienced in my own work. I found that when time was crunched, I was actually more creative. I remember as my first full length poetry collection headed to publication, I felt completely stressed. On the one hand, I was thrilled a publisher thought my work worthy of his investment. On the other hand, I was freaking because we were close to the publication date and I still had way too many edits I wanted to do.

I was at my desk late one night trying to finish some work up when, naturally, the muse struck. And I penned a sonnet that is one of the few poems I consider finished. Well, almost finished, because a poet constantly rethinks her own words even after they’re in print. That particular sonnet, composed late at night when I was exhausted with everything from personal matters to my freelance jobs, touched a chord in people that much of my other work didn’t.

You’ve heard the old saying, Get your head out of the clouds? I have found it useful to simply take a day off away from the office stuff to get my head back into the clouds.

Whatever your art field, time away is essential. After all, the art is based on your living. If you can’t stop for a brief spell, you’re doing yourself a disservice.

The bottom line? Schedule your business tasks to allow time for creativity. It’s just as important as any task on your to-do list, and it may help you produce that one work that touches people in a big kind of way.

(Band Mom/Sept. 1, 2017)

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