I just returned from a weekend of showing my horse and attending a jazz festival. The horse show will be discussed on Snoopy's blog as soon as I can, but I wanted to talk about what I learned at the jazz festival here.
Dale and I got to Mira Costa College in Oceanside just in time to see Marcus perform with Jazz N Tonic, then Marcus' old high school group, Valencia High School. We wanted to hear the other CSULB jazz group, Pacific Standard Time, who were performing after the clinic held by the evening's performers, Sixth Wave.
At the clinic, the six singers discussed where they got their early training and how they make their living today. The students had a lot of questions, from how they continue to train their "instruments" (their voices), to how they broke into session work.
As music and writing are both creative careers, I heard a couple of things from these professionals that really resonated with me.
1. If you don't have a fire in your belly to pursue your art as a career, don't do it. Music is a long hard road. Unless you are one of the VERY select who become a superstar, you will spend your life getting gigs where you can.
Writing is exactly the same. Unless you break out with that book or book series (think Harry Potter), you are going to scrap for every sale and dollar. If you're unwilling to get out and work the audience because you love writing so much, don't do it. Write for yourself and be content.
2. Your art is not all about you. One of the singers spoke about the detachment of her ego from the work. She doesn't sing so people will love her. She sings because she loves to do the work, then give the results as a gift to the audience.
As a professional writer, you develop your tools, you use them to craft stories, and you give those stories to the public (well, for a price). That they like what you've done or don't like what you've done is no reflection on you.
It was amazing to go to a music festival and be inspired about writing. And of course, it was great to hear my son sing. Here's a sample of what we heard (Marcus is the second solo):