I used to love reading the big Richard Scarry books to my kids containing detailed pictorial descriptions of working folk, their tools, and their trade. One such Book was called “What Do People Do All Day.” Back in the day, my work consisted of reading that book all day to my littles, because the illustrations were fantastic! Now my days are spent differently because I have no littles under my roof, Though 2 still live in my home, both are over 18 and basically living here while preparing to establish their own vocations and homes.
Fall of 2018, and certainly the 2019 New Year would bring traditional employment, if not full-time globetrotting with benefits, at least part-time or temp, but a paying “day-job” to feed my music projects. at least that was the plan…Sometimes life comes along and blows up your prior plans. I see no day job for a long while. it is because I cannot ‘land” a day job? Of course not, it is by choice. I am choosing to place an extension on my primary title of full-time caregiver, and with good reason.
I have done the singer/songwriter thing off and on, in addition to my natural habitat involving caregiving, part-time employment, and volunteering, since about 2007. I wrote songs long before 2007, and began the caregiving and part-time working at age 17, and I think I have volunteered since I was old enough to push a broom. I have 2 speeds, industrious, or asleep, with not much in between. I only slow down where in caregiving it is necessary to sit quietly, which have been doing more of that the past several weeks, listening, taking directions, and attending appointments. This must be understood to know why I am not actively seeking a paying job at this time.
That being said, no matter what I am doing, I have realized that a percentage of my waking hours are devoted to matters pertaining to songwriting. There is the writing itself, there is production, there is learning my trade, honing my craft, and the business…which includes all manner of desk-work – that is the part that churns my stomach, and takes up the most time. I am so used to the bad habit of measuring my days by tangible three- dimensional output, like gleaming floors and appliances, that I forget to “count” my hours of intangibles, like all that is involved in songwriting and caregiving….as if I only “worked” on songs when I have a page of fully worked lyrics with chord symbols, or have sung into a microphone. There is so much more that goes into a song, or family for that matter- the intangibles are priceless in every sense of the word.
Now, for my own benefit, and the benefit of peers, and those just wishing to peer into my creative process, I’ve made a google calendar which will not only house upcoming events my local peeps can attend, or my online peeps can tune into, but also document my deskwork and legwork which nobody sees. The hours I put in have begun to surprise me when documented. BUT those hours are unpaid. If you figure in that my local events are usually free, or if paid, stretch way to thin for my musicians to even get minimum wage for the performance only, they get mere pennies when rehearsal time at home and collectively are factored in. The fact is, I have not had to fill out a 1099 for music yet. I have paid for many things, but have never written them off, or even been reimbursed. This is not a complaint. The best things in the life I’ve ever done, have gone without financial compensation. I will work diligently either way.
So, enjoy my new calendar as it grows: (Oops! No link here—see msg below)
OOPS! My calendar kept showing things like meetings & appointments not having to do with music. So I need to find another calendar app. I guess we will have to wait for that.
On it, you will find an accounting of my actual song-crafting, desk-time like making blog posts, updating website, contacting venues/musicians, creating Spotify playlists, (next up on my learning and implementing,) dealing with documentation involving copyrights and performance rights organization and backing up hard drives and hardcopy, also any research or classes I audit, at seminars, retreats, or through online tutorials. By scheduling my rehearsals, studio-time, you might be looking for photos and or short live vids on my Instagram (which reminds me, I need to have my Instagram link added to my buttons on my website) and of course, you will find events, along with times, locations and directions. Feel free to check in at any time. I hope this will be fun, and enlightening.
It will add minutes to each day, but I hope to keep up with it, so that when I think I must be a proverbial “grasshopper” and not an “ant,” I can look back and see that some of the most valuable things I have ever done, just do not show up on a pay-stub. I’m not saying songwriting will never yield an income, but for the sake of those who work hard at good things which go unnoticed, I’m throwing it down. Tell me in a comment what types of thing you do each day, for which you do not receive a pay-stub, but are likely the best investments you could ever make?