As an independent musician, you spend endless hours creating music and perfecting your craft, hoping that this is (finally) the song that will connect with the right listeners and launch you over the top.
You spend even more countless hours
talking with friends (quote unquote) marketing on Facebook and throwing pictures (with a million hashtags) up on Instagram . Oh, and let’s not forget the dozen or so quick tweets you hurl onto Twitter.
You do this because that’s what you’re supposed to do.
You’re busy. You have a regular job to pay the bills and buy equipment and studio time. You take time to practice, rehearse and write. You gotta check your email and get all that social media shit done… You’re busy, busy, busy… hustlin’ like crazy!
But are you accomplishing anything?
Destiny is for losers. It’s just a stupid excuse to wait for things to happen instead of making them happen. ― Blair Waldorf
There’s a big difference between ‘working hard’ and ‘being busy’.
Working hard means doing the work other artists
don’t won’t do. It means doing the real work that matters… the work that sets you apart from the pack.
Hard work is thoughtful and intentional. It’s not fun to do, rarely quick, and often difficult and frustrating. It means learning, failing and trying again. But hard work also provides you with measurable progress towards your goals, in turn creating a strong sense of determination and satisfaction within you.
Busy work, on the other hand, is the easy stuff… the ‘good enough’ stuff… the ‘gotta do something’… ‘anything’… stuff.
It’s when you waste your time and energy on 1,374 tasks (checking email, quick social media posts, Facebook, etc.) that don’t measurably move you towards your goals. It’s when you worry about the quantity of social posts over the quality of those posts. Busyness, however, makes you feel like you’re doing something productive because it creates the illusion that you’re working hard.
Busy work makes you feel tired, stressed out and overwhelmed. You think you’ve done something, but when you look back, you realize you haven’t gotten anywhere. Instead, you’re a like a hamster on a wheel – running and running and running and running…
But not realizing your goals.
The thing that distinguishes one performer from another is how hard he or she works. That’s it. And what’s more, the people at the very top don’t work just harder or even much harder than everyone else. They work much, much harder. ― Malcolm Gladwell
Generally speaking, when people say they ‘work hard’, they mean they spend a lot of time doing a lot of different tasks. But that’s just busy work.
Real (hard) work means putting a lot of thought into your work, focusing on quality, doing it right (better than you ever did before), and knowing your work is contributing to something significant (as in your music career).
Becoming a professional artist is not an easy get-rich-quick scheme. It’s not a simple plug and play process. It takes a lot of blood, sweat, tears, money and hard work.
Building your professional career means FOMO. It means long nights till 4am staring down your computer. It means networking, booking your own gigs, and being told ‘NO’ ten gazillion times… and still holding your head high.
It’s work. It sucks. It’s essential.
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