I’ve been hammered by some kind of flu-like thing for the last few days. I have a headache, sniffles, a sore throat, all of the usual symptoms. It’s pretty funny, actually. I’ve had a couple of reasonably hefty medical issues over the last few years, including two knee surgeries and an emergency appendectomy, and I generally handle that stuff like a stud. My wife fell and broke her arm very badly a couple of days after my appendectomy and needed surgery herself, and I was actually driving around to and from the hospital, the pharmacy, home, and my daughter’s school with staples in my gut (against doctor’s orders, of course) like some kind of suburban Rambo. But give me a crummy cold and I sit around the house, whining for juice and complaining until my kid starts teasing me about what a little baby I am.
So what with my cold and the school term coming up, it’s been difficult to keep the ball moving on my freelance life. Right now, there are a few things that I am working on. I have some production music in the works, some 40 pieces in total that I am doing along with another composer. I’m doing promotional stuff for the book, and developing a lecture/workshop event that I’d like to take to schools to help students who are studying music and audio but haven’t done much in the way of planning their entry into the professional world. I’m working on a second book. Generally, I try to have a few things in the works for a number of reasons which I discuss in some detail in the book.
The last few days, though, I just haven’t felt very good, and after spending what little energy I have on preparing materials for the start of classes, I haven’t really felt like doing very much. Some days you have it, some days you don’t. I’m sure you can all relate. However, this is something I feel strongly about, and about 30 years ago, I made a pact with myself that I’d like to share with you. When I was 25 years old I was working in a shoe store to make ends meet and more or less sucking wind professionally as far as music went. I would work all day in the store, and after putting in 9 or 10 hours at work and taking the train home, I would generally try to write songs or go to the studio and work on demos or something. But at one point I went through a fairly long stretch where I was just too tired from work to do anything creative, so I would go home and watch TV or whatever, and then get depressed about not doing anything creative, and then go to bed depressed, and the next night I would feel less inspired because there was residual depression from the night before.
This went on long enough to make me realize that my entire future was in jeopardy unless I figured out a way to pull myself out of the doldrums. What I eventually figured out is that I needed to do something every day to advance my career. It didn’t have to be huge. It just had to be something. A followup phone call to a client. Four bars of a chord progression. Two lines of a lyric. Something that hadn’t existed the day before. Just so I could finish the day with the knowledge that I was one tiny step closer to my goals then I had been when I got up that morning. And once I started to do that, it became apparent that this type of thinking had a snowball effect, building on itself not only psychologically but in the real, substantial ways that my professional life was improving as I built a continuity to my professional activities. Not only did I feel better each day as the fruits of my labor became more and more apparent, but the phone started to ring more, my work started to get better, and things just started to improve in general. And by not letting a SINGLE day go by without doing something, I was also working on my own self-discipline, which up to that point, had not been one of my strong suits.
So those are my inspirational words: Do SOMETHING every day that will help you realize your goals. And while you’re up, would you get me some juice?