A question

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Jane B
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A question

Post by Jane B »

If you were an artist/musician (or anything else come to think of it) and you were faced with the following dilemma, what would you do? a) Commit to a project that gives you many opportunities for exposure and career advancement (i.e. record deals, tours with other well established bands, playing major music festivals and prestigious venues, etc.), even though you do not feel totally inspired by the project artistically. b) Commit to one or more projects that you find artistically inspiring and that reflect your creative ideas and identity, at the risk of always remaining low profile. This is the dilemma I am currently facing. I've been agonizing over it for quite some time now. I'd like to have some help to gain clarity and decide what to do. Thanks, Jane

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Post by full-steam »

I would choose "B," but I don't know if that has any relevance whatsoever for [b]you.[/b] Feeling uninspired is a decent into hell for me. Is it for you? (If you're asking the question and using language about inspiration, it's probably important to you, too. Just a guess.) Here's what my reasoning would be... With a guaranteed "success" and no inspiration, is it really a "success?" At least in an inspiring situation, that is a "success." (Have you noticed the hordes of people that are obviously not inspired -- perhaps never have been?) The odds of the other stuff coming along as well are perhaps higher than you think. Good luck!

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oops

Post by full-steam »

I would choose "B" but don't know if that has any relevance whatsoever for You. Although "decent"s can be interesting, I meant "descent."

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Post by fifthline »

I would consider the following in reaching a decision: What does it mean to feel not "totally" inspired? Are you inspired at all by Project A -- can you see a way that you can become more inspired by Project A. Is there any chance that doing Project A can be leveraged to allow you a greater ability to do Project B, for which you are more inspired, and give project B a higher profile when you later pursue it? On the other hand, will doing Project A reflect poorly on Project B? What are the real chances that Project A will bring all the opportunities you describe? If Project A brought another person all the opportunities you describe, how would you feel having turned it down? Are your priorities the opportunities or the activity? The greatest synergy usually lies where we are most inspired. But I'd be sure to consider whether the "lack of inspiration" is not fear of success in disguise. Good luck. I don't think anyone can decide but you.

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Post by Jane B »

Thanks full-steam and fifthline for your input and thought provoking questions.
With a guaranteed "success" and no inspiration, is it really a "success?"
This is precisely what I keep asking myself. And everytime my band makes some progress, gets a good opportunity, I always have trouble getting excited about it. But, as fifthline puts it:
Is there any chance that doing Project A can be leveraged to allow you a greater ability to do Project B, for which you are more inspired, and give project B a higher profile when you later pursue it?
This is exactly why I have stuck to project A for so long (over 2 years now), even though I feel like it is not exactly what I want to achieve as an artist. I think that the exposure and contacts and experience I will gain through this project are unique and valuable and will help me with other projects. I talk to many local artists who are envious of the opportunities I get with project A, and I think I would be crazy to give it up. But then, when I am rehearsing with my other projects (B), I feel like I am really expressing who I am, what I want to project as an artist.
What does it mean to feel not "totally" inspired?
Over time, I have gotten a clearer picture of what I want to do as an artist. For one thing, I want to focus on developing as a singer (I am mainly a horn player in this band, although I do a bit of singing as well). And although I like the style of music we play (reggae) and have learned to develop a certain level of appreciation for it, it is not what I most love (I prefer the music of projects B by far). I don't feel like the project A is challenging me to push my limits either, as I feel I am doing with projects B. Sometimes I wonder if this "vision" I have established, of wanting to sing in certain genres, is not limiting me and preventing me from appreciating the opportunities life is throwing my way, and perhaps I will look back and regret not having savoured these moments more fully.
Are you inspired at all by Project A -- can you see a way that you can become more inspired by Project A.
As I mentioned earlier, I do get something out of being in project A. Performing is important to me. I have tried to integrate more of my vision into this project (i.e. suggesting some songs to the band that I could sing with some of the influences I prefer). But I know that if I could get the same opportunities with projects B that I am getting with A, I would leave A in a heartbeat.
On the other hand, will doing Project A reflect poorly on Project B?
That's the thing. Project A is very time and energy consuming, and we are on the road a lot, which makes it difficult to invest into projects B, and I often feel dissatisfied about this. Sometimes I feel like I am wasting my time, devoting so much energy and time to a project that doesn't mean so much to me artistically. It may also just be that I am a scanner (I know this now), and that I need to do many different things, and I have had a sufficient dose of project A and just need to do something different now.

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Post by dani »

Hi Jane, I've probably been reading your posts for as long as you've been with A and have a feel for what a trial it has been for you. Yet, do you have any idea how much I and many others drool over the opportunities you have? Despite the difficulties, you certainly are living one of America's most hallowed dreams. Look, this isn't like getting stuck in a mediocre orchestra for 40 years. Consider this: musicians and other artists are viewed as being temperamental or at least having a \"creative personality.\" To the extent that is true, passion is at the core of music. Not to have passion is death to a musician. So what happens when a group of passionate people come together? Well, what you've been experiencing for two years. Suppose then that you drop A and pursue the B's. Over time, what do you think is going to happen? Yup, B will turn into A. That's not to say that all opportunities are equal, just that you need to look at the personality mix along with all the other considerations. As I previewed this post, it seemed to come across as authoritative when it's really just my opinion. :roll: I love your posts--you have such an interesting life! Best, dani :)

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Post by Scenario Thinker »

I would give "A" a try and use it as a learning experience and to feed your inspiration. If after an amount of time, you still don't feel inspired and it's really hard to keep doing it, then you can always move to the more inspirational direction.
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Post by Scenario Thinker »

OK, my last post was based on what you said in your first post (and they both sounded like new ventures to me). So, it sounds like you have given it some time. If you had more spare time, I'd say do "B" on the side. I still say give "A" more time until it becomes real clear to you that you need to start "B" and forgo the benefits of giving up "A".
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Post by fifthline »

Jane, As I read your latest post, I kept hearing the "grass is always greener" in my head. It sounds like you can work on continuing to make inroads in Project A to improve its appeal to you (e,g, as you say suggesting songs of more interest to you). Two years is not a long investment of time, even though it may seem like it is when you are in the middle of it. My cousin invested 10 years of time before really being able to capitalize on contacts he made for what he ultimately wanted to achieve (in the music business), plus toss in some "right place right time" and loads of talent, too.

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Post by Quest »

Jane B, There is something you wrote that stood out to me and I was wondering if you could expand a bit on your feelings/thoughts related to it. Here's the quote that is in question:
And everytime my band makes some progress, gets a good opportunity, I always have trouble getting excited about it.
If you aren't feeling excitement, what are you feeling?
This is the dilemma I am currently facing. I've been agonizing over it for quite some time now.
When you wrote that you have been "agonizing over it for some time now," what is it about the dilemma that's causing the agony? The fear of making the wrong decision? The fear of not becoming high profile? The fear of maybe missing out on something bigger or better? What is the real source of the agony? You've given some clues in your previous posts in this thread, but maybe you could use laser focus and try to zone in on what's at the heart of the dilemma?
Sometimes I feel like I am wasting my time, devoting so much energy and time to a project that doesn't mean so much to me artistically.
Are you feeling drained then? If so, have those feelings intensified over time? These feelings would seem pretty significant. Do you have any tendencies - as a whole - to feeling melancholy or depressed? Are these feelings just part of who you are in relation to your way of moving through the world - thus far? Do you feel you deserve what you've accomplished so far?

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Post by Tituba »

at the risk of always remaining low profile.
You are making an assumption that B would send you to the bottom of the feeding chain but you'd be fulfilled creativily. You can't know how either option will turn out. If you took A, does that eliminate B completely? If A didn't work out, could you go back to B? I'd take A as that would help you finiancially and reputation wise to give you the freedom to choose B, C or D.

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Post by Jane B »

Hi again everyone, Thanks for the feedback again. I have given this some more thought and I think I am better able to verbalize what the problem is. Basically, doing A for awhile confirmed that I wanted to pursue a career as an artist, but perhaps not in this specific type of music or setting. That is why I sought out the B's, which I find a lot more interesting and challenging artistically speaking. The main problem I am facing is that project A is very time consuming. Last year we were on the road non stop all summer and all fall, with regular trips throughout the rest of the year, we wrote songs, recorded an album, recruited musicians. In the midst of all of this, I need to devote time to my work as a translator to pay my bills. Therefore, it is hard to really invest in the B's. I can only do them occasionally. Therefore, although I recognize the valuable experience and exposure I am gaining through A, I sometimes feel like I am losing touch with the real essence of what it is I want to achieve as a performer, if this makes any sense...

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A

Post by YO »

I would definitely try A for awhile. Success breeds success. You can probably build a fan base and then move on to the project that is near and dear to your heart. Just one girl's opinion.
I see now that the emotion we call fear is really a huge source of energy. So whenever I tingle with that vibration, I know that I'm on the precipice of something significant

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Post by Jane B »

Hi everyone, I have recently completed a full summer of touring with band A, and have been giving this dilemma more thought. Also, project B has been gaining momentum over the past couple of weeks and shows promise. I had reached a partial decision regarding band A. This fall we will be on the road again for about a month, touring as guests for another artist. Also, there is a possibility that this winter, we will be touring Europe. I have decided to stay long enough to complete the fall tour and see if the European tour materializes; I have never been to Europe and would love to have the opportunity to go there. However, now that we are back home, the band wants to focus on writing so that we have new original material to take on the road this fall. We have a few new originals in the works, and I have been asked to collaborate on one of the new songs. One of the musicians has come up with a chord structure and melody, and he wants me to sing the song and write lyrics for it. My issue is this: if I write a good song, then decide to leave the band after the European tour or whatever, then perhaps the band will still want to use that song, and it will piss me off because I won't want them to use it and it will create a conflict, etc. etc. etc. So even though I think the song is cool and am excited to work on it, I don't know if I should! I don't know what the heck my problem is. I have been struggling since the beginning for the band to appreciate me more as a singer, and now that my efforts are paying off I am wondering if I should embrace this. For some reason I have this belief that if I commit to staying in this band for good I will be "trapped" and unable to do other things that are important to me. Among other things, I would currently like to have more time to practice my singing and work on band B. True the tour is valid experience for me as a performer, but I am mainly performing as a horn player; my singing is limited to a handful of songs that are not very challenging musically and that don't really bring out the best in my voice, or at least that's what I think. I am afraid I will look back in some years and wish I had spent more time on projects that were more in line with my musical tastes and aspirations. Thanks for any thoughts, Jane

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Post by MDG »

Dear Jane, Does your final or on-going choice or choices rely entirely on how much you love any aspect of music? If that is true, then you must set aside time, somehow, for the aspects you love best. As Barbara tells us, we must have something of what we love in our lives every day. Tituba mentions that we can't know the outcome of any choice, in advance. Einstein said something like..."We can't predict the outcome of our actions. The only sin is in doing nothing." (After the theories of atom-splitting were used to make a bomb.) So, isn't your question simply a matter of organizing your time to accommodate what you love best? I think that's what you should do...everything you love best, proportionately to how much you love it...and let the rest follow as it may. No one in the group was overly enthusiastic about Mama Cass, you know. She did a lot of 'hanging around' and even 'chased' them to the Caribbean (I think it was). It wasn't until a pipe fell on her head, and her voice somehow changed, that she became important to the group. Who knows what is ahead for you...or any of us? The only thing we can do is to show up, on time. Our inner enthusiasms, talents, and loves, take it from there. MDG

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