The list continues ...
- Pursue Agents. Perhaps the second most despised
profession (after lawyers) is agents. They've been the butt of jokes
on virtually every talk show in history. Maybe that's why so many of
us aren't as diligent as we should be about having agents represent
us. While it's true that agents for performing artists get their pound
of flesh (in the form of a percentage of our earnings), it's also true
that agents spend most of their time looking for jobs for their clients.
It's worth establishing good relations with your agent or prospective
agent. And when you're not working, you're more likely to have the time
to schmooze a little.
- Write a Mission Statement. The most successful
organizations in the world have mission statements that state explicitly
and succinctly what their goals are and what the organization is committed
to do in order to achieve those goals. Why not emulate those who are
successful? A personal mission statement helps you stay focused on what
your goals are. And when you're not working you have not only the time
but also the incentive to formulate one. (Not familiar with this concept?
Check out Steven Covey's Seven
Habits of Highly Effective People. He is, among other things, a
mission statement guru and his landmark book has now become a major
part of the way our world works.)
- Take a Daily Walk. Notice the world around you.
Look to the sky, the earth, the mountains, the ocean for inspiration.
Observe human nature. Watch the way animals interact with each other.
Scrutinize a bug or a rock or a blade of grass. Our power of observation
is one of the most valuable resources we have as performing artists.
That which we see, hear, smell, taste, touch and intuit can be used,
consciously or unconsciously, in our art. Whether you're a singer, a
dancer, an actor, a writer, or a musician (or any combination thereof),
there are always plenty of things to learn by keeping our senses attuned
to our environment.
- Reflect. Sometimes, in the grand scheme of things,
having some time off is one of the best things we can do for our art.
We can look at our past artistic accomplishments and see what we might
have done differently or better. We can assess where we are now and
what it is we have to offer at this point in time. And we can choose
what direction we want to go in the future.
- Take Inventory. While we're on the subject of
self-improvement, making ourselves better people makes us better artists.
In order to do that, we have to take an unflinching look at ourselves
from time to time. Maybe we procrastinate. Maybe we smoke, even though
we know it's not good for us. Maybe we don't get enough exercise. Whatever
the human weakness, they are just that -- human. And, as such, we have
the capability of ridding ourselves of those weaknesses and making ourselves
into better performers as a by-product. And taking inventory doesn't
necessarily just mean writing a list of all the things that are wrong
with us. It also means that we can take time to acknowledge our strengths
and even give ourselves an occasional gentle pat on the back for them.
an Artists' Support Group. If you're out of work, you're not alone.
At any given time, the vast majority of performing artists aren't working
in their chosen professions. So it shouldn't be difficult to find others
in the same boat. These groups aren't just mope-and-moan sessions. Instead,
when you get together with your fellow performing artists, you can spark
each other's creativity, you can revel in each other's successes, you
can help each other get through the tough times, and you can brainstorm
about finding or creating work. The seeds of genuine collaboration are
often planted in such groups. (For some great insight into both the
merits and the practicalities of artists' support groups, check out
Julia Cameron's The
you have a survival tip that you'd like to add? Submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org
and we'll add it to our list.
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