You’re tired. You’re hungry. You’re not in the mood to do anything except eat and sleep. You just got home from a long day at work. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that you’re a musician. You haven’t had a chance to practice yet because you’ve been catching up on unpaid bills and other loose ends. There’s an event you need to attend tonight because of the indispensable networking opportunities and the chance to showcase your hard work. And you… still need to write a blog post?
Michael Hyatt, author of Platform: Get Noticed In A Noisy World, writes that three to four blog posts a week is ideal for a functioning platform. Let me repeat that: three to four blog posts a week. He says frequency is the key to traffic. For those of us with full time jobs, projects of our own, families, and the need to keep our sanity, this may sound a tad demanding. And you know what? It is.
I’m not just talking about blog posts. I’m talking about the whole litany of tasks we are expected to complete as creative entrepreneurs, most of which are to be done online. Yes, folks, it’s not enough anymore that we be creative, brilliant, vulnerable. Now we have to publicize everything on that wonderful, vast expanse of cyberspace: the Internet.
It’s not enough that we put our hearts and souls on the line by composing soul-wrenching music or tantalizingly transparent poetry. Now, we have to upload everything we create. And after doing that, we have to tweet, post, blog, tag, and respond, in a constant fashion, everything we think, do, and say.
And the whole time, have a smile on our face, go about our day, and be creative – and, in the case of musicians, practice, transcribe, write, and repeat.
Since I’m a musician, let’s break down a typical day in the life of a budding musician-entrepreneur with a typical full-time job.
7:00 – 9:00 am Roll lethargically out of bed, clawing at your smart phone which is also your alarm. Drag your still half-asleep ass to the shower, then try your best to make a breakfast that doesn’t contain high-fructose corn syrup.
8:00 – 9:00 am Force yourself to practice. Try not to drink too much coffee.
9:00 – 9:30 am If it’s blog day, finish proofreading and editing your newest blog post. Expound on the thoughts you should have begun the night before. If it’s not blog day, congratulations! You get to practice for an extra half hour.
9:30 – 10:00 am If you live in a city like Nashville, you have to hop on 5 different interstates before you get to where you’re going, unless you’re lucky and you only have to travel through a suburban maze, in which case you just might have enough time to pack lunch. Arrive at work.
10:00 am – 6:00 pm Work.
6:15 pm – 6:45 pm Go to the gym. That’s right, you heard me. How can you afford a gym membership? How should I know?!
7:00 pm – some time between 10:30 pm and 12:30 am Network, play gigs, OR stay in and write and figure out how home recording works. If it’s a writing night, and you absolutely cannot come up with anything worth a damn, sit at the frigging piano, or with the guitar, for an hour.
If it’s a networking or a gigging night, you may very well be out until, like, 2:00 in the morning. Wherever you go, make sure you have your laptop or a notebook handy so you can jot down creative ideas that come to you from the omnipresent Wellspring of Creativity. Tweet about some of these ideas.
(12:30 – 1:00 On a networking/gigging night, haul ass back home. Hopefully you didn’t have more than a couple of beers. If you haven’t eaten yet, your blood sugar is probably raging. Don’t worry, you have kale and spinach waiting for you from the Farmer’s Market that you get to cook yourself. Make sure not to eat fast food or put anything in the microwave, because you’ll get cancer.)
11:00 pm – 12:40 am If you were lucky enough to be home by 11:00, get started on your next blog post. If it’s not a blog night, move schedule ahead 40 minutes.
12:40 – 1:00 Try to read something. Anything, as long as it’s a book. Readers are leaders.
1:00 to 1:15 am – Night ritual. This should involve looking at yourself in the mirror and telling yourself how awesome you are. Also, brushing your teeth. Occasionally flossing. Taking any evening supplements or medication that you might be on for any reason, self-prescribed or otherwise.
1:15 am – 7:00 am Five and a half hours of sleep, here you come! (If you’re lucky.) Well, your Pinterest account might be lacking, but I suppose you earned it.
Sound familiar? If you’re not a “budding musician-entrepreneur,” this may sound a bit off-the-wall. Although I can’t say I myself adhere to this schedule strictly in any way shape or form, I include it here to make a point: to juggle all of these balls, one might just have to be superhuman.
If you pick up any amount of cynicism from this post, it’s probably because some days I indeed feel kind of cynical. I believe that the Internet, though amazing for what it is and what it makes possible, is every bit as bad. Or at least, dangerous. It’s forcing us to compartmentalize our time in a way which would seem to any previous generation no less than insane. Hard as I try, I can’t imagine Beethoven tweeting, Facebooking, or Instagramming between writing movements of any of his symphonies. He had bigger fish to fry.
Have you ever been frustrated by the detraction from substance that inevitably occurs through the obligatory requirements of modern day social media? For the budding entrepreneurs like myself: whats are some ways you balance mandatory self-promotion with creative time?