As much as you prepare for it and lay the groundwork, when you are actually in transition between what you used to do and the thing you finally had to do, before it was too late, you find that there is still a lot that remains to be done that you didn’t complete before taking the plunge. I am happy that the preparations I made are paying off, but it’s never enough. You always feel you could have prepared more.
In the first place, you need to build up your portfolio. In music production, that takes about eight hours of effort per finished minute of music, unless you want to make it more elaborate and intricate, artistically, where the time taken can increase. I keep that as a rule of thumb and try to stick to it, so that I maintain a steady work pace but don’t cut corners. Even so, finishing 75 minutes worth of music to make a decent CD’s worth of releasable art is going to take the best part of three months. That’s if there are no distractions and you can maintain the pace, having started from standing.
At some time, what you put aside to allow you to make this attempt will run out and you have to get some kind of income to keep body and soul, house and home, family and life together. Ideally, you would do that with your end products, but finding an audience and marketing your works also takes time and effort.
It has been an interesting experiment for me to write two blogs, over the past four years. One blog was about the stuff I used to do – invention and innovation in a technical sense. I wrote nearly one hundred articles, pouring in what I thought was my best information and promoted it the same way as the other blog – via social media. It barely gets read. I’m lucky if I get ten visitors per day to that blog site.
On the art related blog that I also write (this one), I have over five hundred articles. This blog has a readership that built steadily, to about eighty views a day. Benchmarking that against other people’s blogs on different subject matter, though, it’s clear that people are not very interested in this subject matter, compared to say dating and divorce, for example.
So the comparison between the two blogs tells me people are more interested in my artistic outpourings than in my ability to create new technological things, but whether the income will follow remains unknown. So far, it has not. Compared to other blogs, my blog stats tell me that people just aren’t that interested in either of the things I do. They aren’t too concerned with my art and less so with my inventive capabilities, it seems. It is interesting data, but I can’t extrapolate too far from it, either, given its limitations.
I made this transition because I got to a point where I just simply couldn’t stand to not pursue what I loved doing best. However, I have to build networks of collaborators, appreciators, competitors, suppliers, distributors – all the stuff that accumulates over the course of a career – from scratch, pretty much. The terrifying thing is that it’s a race against time.
That said, I find that the work I produce is of a standard I can be proud of and the more I make, the better I get. I can already find my way around the tools and get them to behave. There just isn’t enough finished product yet, which means promoting and selling it is somewhat premature. No point in working on a web site to showcase it, when there is next to nothing to offer. So far, all I have done is asked for lovely comments from kind friends. Even some of them have been a little uncertain about how to react to my work. I still have no idea if the work will find a significant audience or not. There isn’t enough work completed to tell and not enough people sampled to get a consensus.
I one sense, the transition seems to be a reckless move, but in other ways, it feels like the only thing I could have done. I couldn’t keep ignoring this side of my creative self. It was costing me too much. Having set off in this new direction, however, I realise I have such a long way to go and running at full pace will not get me to the destination. I’ll stumble and fall, exhausted, before I get there. Instead, I have to maintain a steady pace and make consistent progress, without burning out.
It all feels so risky and uncertain. Hopefully, that’s a sign that it’s worth doing. Fending off utter disaster while I get to the place I hope I am going will be the biggest challenge. Keeping my head together while I walk this tightrope is the second biggest.
If it were as easy as just deciding to make music, one day and everything falling magically into place, then I suppose everybody would do it. I know that this is the right thing to be doing, because I feel right when I am doing it. I like the work. I enjoy doing it. I feel satisfaction with the results, even when I can still see the flaws. Each thing I make stimulates ideas about the next thing and the thing after that. It still feels limitless and unexplored. I haven’t yet exposed all the music that currently lives only in my head. It will take time to bring that into other people’s realities. The next challenge will be to get other people to care. That might not be as easy or comfortable. Or it might be ridiculously easy. I can’t tell which, at this time.
I just hope that circumstances don’t curtail my efforts in the mean time. That would be very mean of time.