“Everyday I Write the Book”

Reader’s Digest has a feature, Only In America, which highlights “Ideas, trends and interesting bits from all over” – all over America, I presume. October’s edition of this feature included two very interesting storiettes. The first of these mentioned David Allen and GTD, clutter busting, and feng shui.

The fruit of the meme, however, was a brief about Jacob Berendes, who runs a small record label in Worcester, Mass. A friend of his had recorded one blues song a day for an entire year and it inspiried him to find an everyday activity. The Macguffin here is that he went for the “original stuffed toy a day” idea. His toys are quite interesting but the true fruit is, oddly enough, in the root of this idea.

Since the progress of my goals is evident but slow, I am inspired to squeeze this idea into my schedule. I don’t think that ‘writing a song a day’ is an achievable goal, so it doesn’t pass the SMART test. It’d be much more realistic for me to come up with a progression a day, or a melody line a day. For now, I’m going to brew on this and leave the loop open for now.

Birthday and Bits

Today is my oldest daughter’s first birthday, so I’m not going to take a whole lot of time to disclose any updates because I haven’t taken any time to make any progress.

Zack has once again mentioned that he’ll be working on the redesign of space-age wasteland. Even if it seems like he keeps putting this off, it’s really a low-priority personal favor and he’s a really busy dude. You should start noticing minor changes coming in one at a time.

And for everyone perpetuating this glorious meme, keep it up! We’re all on the right track.

A Productive Tuesday Afternoon

Today, I put in some massive effort towards 2 of my ‘passion intersections.’ A group of the teenagers I lead at church are volunteering to help repair the home of an elderly woman and there’s a good amount of organization and paperwork that need to be done in the next few days to make this all happen. I made some headway on that and then began planning some other activities we’ll be doing in the next few weeks.

In the midst of this organizational work, I got to do some composition. It’s my responsibility to put the music together for October 16th’s liturgy, and in true Bryan style I’ve already written the Psalm Antiphon with a good start on the verses and plan on writing a song for the entrance. *

I also mentioned to one of my neighbors that had expressed prior interest in music lessons that I’d be teaching. I may have found my first student, but all is yet to be seen.

*I had an idea to put up sort of an open-source liturgical music planning guide to allow musicians to provide ideas and advice for song selections based on the theme of the liturgy for a specific day. This could also probably bleed over into other worship settings that aren’t based on specific cyclical liturgies but on a theme or set of scripture readings. I think a wikipedia-like implementation of this could really work if enough musicians shared their experiences. I know of several resources that provide this information on a subscription basis, but none are free, and none are as accessible as this would be.

Opportunities Answer Commitment

There seems to be a phenomenal law of nature that if you commit to something properly, opportunity will find you. Maybe it’s God rewarding faith. Maybe it’s a result of increased vigilance for these opportunities. I’ll call it a combination of the two.

I have goals. That’s an awesome thing to say. When I didn’t have goals, where was I going? It’s been a while since I’ve had no goals, but the new meaning that my goals carry will hopefully lead me to success.*

Friday I announced two steps I was taking to stop lying to myself and move towards a career in music (sending a song in for publication consideration and recording a new take on an old song to prepare a stage act). Yesterday I was given a chance to lead the group at church for a second time, which will give me an excellent opportunity to compose a new piece for further publication.

I’m also telling as many people about the new plan as possible without getting fired. I’ll need people at shows, students in classes, my stuff rocking ear buds and a network of support. Having the backing of my friends is crucial.

I’ll take support any way I can get it. Thanks to everyone who has shown me a tremendous amount of that support and feedback!

* I had it out a discussion between two reasonable adults today about whether or not Microsoft was a success. I won’t explain my side here because it’s not important, but my counterpart was explaining that they were a success purely based on their net worth. Sure, money is a crucial resource for business and civilization but I don’t think we can even begin to describe success via money. If I believed otherwise, I certainly wouldn’t be praying that a career in music would come my way.

2 First Steps to Music

Though putting my entire energy, heart and soul into my passion from the beginning, at this stage in my life it would be a poor choice. I am intent, however, on achieving my goals through persistence and passionate work. Today, I’ve put two things into motion to start making things move for my new vocation.

  1. I started packaging a kit to have a liturgical piece of mine published. I have several of these that are worthy of publication, but most of them aren’t in publisher-ready form. I’ve got one based on Psalm 67 that just needs a rough recording and it will be sent to WLP for review. This is just the first of many.
  2. I started recording a song this afternoon. Its composition and arrangement were completely finished for my last band, but we never got to perform it. This is an unfortunate situation because it’s a really catchy song. I’m proud to announce that it will debut here on Space-age Wasteland. This, however, will develop into a solo performance project for me to carry around town.

The plan is to spend my spare time working on this sort of thing. I’ll keep you updated each step of the way. I’m excited.

Dropkick those Obstacles (My First 5 to 1)

…and the meme multiplies: Curt writes this yesterday. He’s obviously sneaking into my brain and doing his best to talk me into doing what I know I should. I’ll try his exercise even (think of 5 possibilities to get around each obstacle): First Obstacle: No one is going to pay me to play, write, teach, or record music.
Five Possibilities to overcome (This ought to be a real treat):

  • I could spread my time capital among all aspects to diversify my investment, capitalizing on playing out in venues that pay well, writing lots of quality music for publication and reuse, teaching lessons and making commissioned recordings
  • I could look for an institution that would provide a salary for me to provide their musical needs (school, church… and those are the only two I can think of right now).
  • I could seek employment at a music store. This strays from my passion and puts me into sales a bit, but I have sales experience.
  • I can focus on a business idea I have which is almost to form a sort of ‘school of rock’ which (in short) will be a zen-and-the-art-of-modern-ensemble to apply what I’ve learned from many years in large organized ensembles to my experience with small modern ensembles. Think of it as band class for rock.
  • I can work freelance for a more flexible schedule that gives me more time to pursue the music. This is sort of the middle ground.

That was easier than I thought, thanks Curt. I think I’ll do this for every obstacle I can think of. That’s all for now.

For Now… It’s Music

If you haven’t already concluded this from the last two weeks of posting, my day job is draining the life out of me. From comments here, discussions outside of the blogosphere and my own personal reflections I have decided that a music career is what will fulfill me on every level. It’s my passion.

I think, commercially, it will have to be a combination of teaching, performing, composing, and recording but nothing about any of those four facets scares me. I also can’t promise when I’ll have completed enough research and work to move enough “Bryan Stock” into this project to call it a career. I am committing to take steps, however, and substantial steps. It’s time to do more than write about it. It’s an official goal now.

…Like Everything I’ve Ever Heard Before

It’s funny. I know I read this back in May, but sometimes repetition of a theme really is worth it. Formalization counts for something to. I suppose we should all get together and write a book about this process, or has Fred already done that (it is on my reading list, by the way, I’m just a little slow)?

Reading and writing about this process, this vocational shift, is profoundly easier than doing it. Everything I hear is telling me that something needs to be changed. One third of each of my weekdays is fraud. I can only look at myself with shame. What could it possibly take for me to make the change that I know in my heart is required for my personal success? How can I make the change without injuring my family?

The force pulling me in this direction only grows stronger. I suppose that it’ll get much harder before it gets easier.

The Prequel to ‘Finding Your Calling’

Ok, so I wasn’t so clear about how I actually went through the exercise early Friday Morning. After reading back over the post, I realize that it looks like I skipped the first two steps, but they were just done on paper. Now I’ll share them in hopes that a review of them will give me stronger results.

My Gifts:

  • Musical Performance
  • Facts and Trivia
  • Instruction
  • Performance
  • Technological Proficiency
  • Strong Faith
  • Communication and Conversation

My Passions:

  • Creating, Writing and Performing
  • Being a Positive Influence on Others
  • Systemization

More Specific Passions:

  • Music Electronics/Synthesis/Gear
  • Live Music
  • Liturgical Music
  • New-Media/Design and Technology Aggregation and Integration
  • Keeping up with Technology Trends

It is from these gifts and passions that I drew Friday’s ‘Passion Intersections:’

  • Music Technology Instruction – Teaching people (kids?) the correlation, history, and future possibilities of music with computers, computer based instruments, etc..
  • Musical Resource Development – I write a lot of liturgical music, most of which could be used even worldwide and receive modest payment for it.
  • Musical Performance – I could always gig but this is an obvious one I’ve intentionally stayed away from as a career choice since I left for college – why?
  • Technology Instruction – I’ve actually done this before with much success, but never in my current market so it might be worth testing the waters of SC.
  • Leadership Instruction – I’m an effective leader of young people but this market might be slim.
  • Productivity Instruction – I think I’d get a big kick out of doing GTD-style training to executives and watching the results as they become more productive, but this is an odd market to break into, and the local market is probably intensely slim.
  • Buzz Consulting – How is this even on the list, huh? I don’t even know where this could go but with my ability to get a good overview-like knowledge of emerging technology very quickly, I’m a good box drawer. I’m good at coming up with systems (at a high level) that will work once the boxes are connected by the right programmers and designers.

This is, of course, still a work in progress. But there was some confusion so I think this should clear some things up. I appreciate the comments and assistance.

Fred’s ‘Finding Your Calling’ Exercise and Invitations

Recently, Fred Gratzon over at The Lazy Way to Success posted a very interesting article outlining a method for “finding your calling.” Seeing as how this seems to be the meme of the year and I mentioned it in my last post, I figured it would be a good idea to actually exercise this method.

My ‘intersections of passion’ (on pass #1) are listed below. Some may have a commercial component, some I can’t even imagine being existing jobs. Does that discount anything? Probably not. I’m inviting feedback on these intersections (invite #1).

  • Music Technology Instruction – Teaching people (kids?) the correlation, history, and future possibilities of music with computers, computer based instruments, etc..
  • Musical Resource Development – I write a lot of liturgical music, most of which could be used even worldwide and receive modest payment for it.
  • Musical Performance – I could always gig but this is an obvious one I’ve intentionally stayed away from as a career choice since I left for college – why?
  • Technology Instruction – I’ve actually done this before with much success, but never in my current market so it might be worth testing the waters of SC.
  • Leadership Instruction – I’m an effective leader of young people but this market might be slim.
  • Productivity Instruction – I think I’d get a big kick out of doing GTD-style training to executives and watching the results as they become more productive, but this is an odd market to break into, and the local market is probably intensely slim.
  • Buzz Consulting – How is this even on the list, huh? I don’t even know where this could go but with my ability to get a good overview-like knowledge of emerging technology very quickly, I’m a good box drawer. I’m good at coming up with systems (at a high level) that will work once the boxes are connected by the right programmers and designers.

Ok, that’s pass #1.

I’d like to nearly shift the focus of space-age wasteland to this sort of passion/goal-seeking mentality. It’s not a big stretch considering what I’ve written about in the past. I’m going to post updates on these sorts of exercises and goals in my life. Invitation #2 is for you to come along. In the comments of this post, it’d be rad (yeah, I said ‘rad’) to see feedback of my ‘intersections of passions,’ the results of your calling exercises and some discussion of the results of each.

My next post could be an announcement of steps I’ve taken to advance one of these ideas, maybe it’ll be motivation for you to follow. It could also be another pass at this exercise because I found that the results were lousy. I hope to hear from you. We’ve got a lot of work to do.