In the entertainment industry, whether you are a songwriter, artist, or an audio engineer, the idea that your career takes everything can seem all-consuming. Granted, at times, it is. However, once you reach a certain point in life, it may become apparent that this industry is not conducive to the idea of maintaining a “work-life balance.”
What happens when your passion begins to feel like a job (granted it is one), and you struggle to maintain focus and mental health.
First, let me start by saying that the music industry is not for the faint of heart or lack of stubbornness. However, in the beginning, breaking into the industry tends to require some significant changes. Those changes look different for each person. The most common transformation is moving to a music city (i.e., Nashville, or L.A.) and networking there. For others, it may involve alternative forms of networking and content production. Either way, the point is that the beginning stages of this industry may feel like you are just struggling to keep your head above water and stay in the race with the competition.
At times it seems like having any aspect of your life remain untouched by the industry you are trying to enter is impossible. Trying to break into the industry, without the willingness to devote all of your free time, weekends, and late nights is difficult.
I once saw a sign that said, “you can have it good, you can have it fast, or you can have it cheap. Pick two out of three”. The same principle applies here. You can have a personal life, you can develop your career, or you can have enough sleep/rest. Thankfully, everything in life is for a season.
Once you have learned the basics, if you are anything like me, you may begin to feel overwhelmed or disenchanted with the work you are doing. That is okay. But if you seriously want to keep pursuing your career without pushing yourself over the edge, maybe think about making some adjustments.
This summer, I was allowed to hear John Oats speak at Summer NAMM on songwriting. One thing he said that stayed with me was when he explained his songwriting process, he said, “I write when I feel like it. If I don’t feel like writing, I don’t force it”. It is such a simple idea, but one that’s seems to have been forgotten. The fact that while it is essential to pursue your craft and improve your skill, that improvement should not come at the price of your love for what you do.
When chasing a dream, idea, or whatever it is you are pursuing, allow yourself to maintain your progress and relax for a minute simply.
As humans, we only have so much energy, and like it or not, you can allow yourself the freedom to create when you feel like creating. Try not to forget why you started this journey that you’re on.
Despite the deadlines and other pressures of the industry, don’t forget to breathe.