The age old dilemma is summarized best with these simple words: “What do I do now?”
Lately I’ve been very busy with work and family but I feel this nagging sensation that being busy is about as noble as it sounds. “Well, I’m too busy to hang out.” “Nope, too busy to get that done for ya, bud.” “Sorry, but I’m just too damn busy.” I say it so much that it feels fake. It feels like an excuse, even though the objective reality appears to be that I really am busier than I’ve ever been. I’ve got me a baby and a wife and a 40hour work week, 3 hours of transit on average per work day (until I’m transferred this weekend, which thankfully will decrease travel time), and other shit that comes my way. I’ve got friends and enough unfinished projects for my creative life—and my home life—to fill a bathtub. Speaking of which, I have to fix that damn crack in the bathtub.
This is just something I’ve been thinking about—being busy, I mean. The idea of it. I’ve been constantly evaluating and reevaluating my life and what I’m supposed to be doing with it. Yes, I have the family and the daughter. That’s important and my role as a father who is present and a husband who is nice to be around is certainly not to be overlooked. That is the backbone of anything I do now in this life. I can’t take a single step further without having the grace of my family to support me through it, and on the flip side—every step I take should somehow support my family.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I’m a lucky man to have all these blessings.
So after much thought, what I’ve concluded is that even though I am busy with all my lofty art projects it is important for me to have an online presence. I have this website and four social media outlets (Facebook Page, Twitter, Goodreads, and Google+), but back last year when I quit Facebook (I stopped checking my profile and created a new one with no friends to puppet my Author Page), I realize that I seriously decreased ALL of my interactions on Social Media. I stopped seeking a larger readership and thought that it was more important for me to work on my projects. After all, if I don’t finish the novel then I can’t sell the novel. If I don’t finish my album I can’t show people my album. Solid reasoning, right?
I’ve forgotten that these days, being a budding artist means being active on Social Media, it means being active on my website. This means I need to blog now and then, I need to respond to comments and I need to regularly update things. Without doing that, the cold reality is that having completed work won’t do me much good. Having a finished novel is great, but if nobody is willing to read it, what’s the point?
See, I don’t believe in the solitary artist. I don’t believe that people simply make art so that they can horde it to themselves—I believe that artists make art to be shared. Simply put, I write to be read. I sing to be heard. Anybody who writes for a living and says otherwise is frankly, full of shit. Yeah, as an artist you enjoy doing your work, that’s sort of a given, but unless you want to be stuck in your Joe-job until the day you die, you’re actively trying to do something with your art. You’re actively trying to get someone to read/listen/look at/smell/touch it. If not to make money so that you can do it full-time (there is no other way to do it full-time), you’re doing it to be validated and connected. You’re doing it to move people and thus move yourself. A Joe-job isn’t so bad when you’re still validated for your passions.
And to be clear, it’s not as if I resent the idea of being active on the Internet either, I want to be active with my friends and readership. I really do! You guys are awesome. What has prevented me from doing so is that horrible word:
So easy to say, so easy to be.
All these lofty thoughts and feelings floating around has made me finally crack and sit down with my wife to prioritize and make concrete goals. I do this probably once every few months. The result this time is that I’ve decided to get back onto my social media platforms. I realize that this activity drives sanity for me and connects my art to the world. Being read encourages me to write more than almost anything. Stopping work on the website is about as stupid and self-defeating as a thing I could do. Yes, I’ve gotten lots of work done over the last few months but it hasn’t nearly been enough. I’ve watched a little too much Stephen Colbert to admit that I’ve been incredibly productive with my free time.
But… I have done a few things!
For instance, I’ve worked on my Sci-Fi novel a lot. I sent some short fiction to some magazines. But mostly, I’ve begun work on my first official Solo Album. It will feature music entirely written by me, all of the arrangements done by myself, and hopefully, provided the possible success of my Kick Starter, I will have all the right tools to make it awesome. Two songs are completed already.
So I guess the moral of the story is that I want to be less busy but make more things. It’s a catch 22.
Welcome to life, I suppose.
… Glorious, busy, life!