Daily Loop #25

It’s Monday, again. A weekly reminder that our weekends are no longer filled with rejuvenating times with friends, new experiences, random encounters, and spontaneous adventures. Nope! All gone.

So turn on your computer, dial into the internet, and let’s just pretend everything is normal.

The main riff in today’s Daily Loop was played on my bass, which I converted to MIDI notes.

LIKES

“Some days, I really hate this shit. Like really fucking hate it on an extra level. Today is one of those,” @georgehahn

Video by Camilo Calderón from Pexels

Make Yourself an Experience

Anyone (literally) can get a song up on Spotify.

Anyone (literally) can get their song up on YouTube.

You don’t have to out run a bear, you just have to out run your friends.

Set up a site for your album. Put up your lyrics, your photos, your stories. You wish a cool media outlet would do a feature on your new release, right? In the meantime, do it yourself.

You’d post a link to that cool press if you got it.

For now, build your own “press” and post that link instead.

You dream of your killer live stage set up – lights, video screens, dancers.

Start now.

Make your website your stage. Fill it with your art, your ideas, your dreams, your colors, your imagery.

Because someone else just starting out in stage design is looking and listening and watching.

Because someone else is just getting started in costume design. And video editing. And graphic design.

Put more of yourself out there, in full form. Attract your people, your fans, your team.

Today isn’t the time for just posting throw-away Tweets that wash away in an hour. Not time for “stories” that float off like a plastic bag in the breeze.

Buy a domain name, set up a site, and stake your place on the internet. Your home. Your HQ. The source for your magic and your art.

Don’t just add a photo and post a link. Rip open yourself and get more of yourself onto the screen. Answer interview questions you’ve not yet been asked, list your favorite horror films, post that video of yourself making coffee in the morning with your music in the background.

Your music is part of life, part of existence, part of the human story. Don’t let your music fight all by itself on a crowded playlist, which is just two steps away from looking like a Google Sheet:

Control your destiny, your branding, and your look. Put together more of what you do, and who you are, in a space that you control.

Let Your Work Cook

During a recent Instagram Stories doom-swipe session, I noticed Kendriana post about one of her posts being removed because IG thought it broke some rule. A physical trainer I follow had their entire account wiped out because of some unknown one-and-done rule breaking (thankfully they got their account back).

With each day that passes, it’s never been more important to move your followers to your website. To your email list. Get your biggest fans to follow you to a platform you own.

Social media is so enticing for artists, photographers, musicians, etc because of the instant feedback. The interaction. The release of endorphins that come from instant validation.

The entire system is built on that, but it’s a system to benefit them, not you.

You feed their system day and night with content, with engagement, with interaction. In turn, they harvest your user data, habits, track what you look at and like, and sell it to advertisers.

So long as you keep feeding social media your time and effort, they will make lots of money.

The alternative is update your own website. Send an email to your newsletter subscribers.

Neither give you the instant feedback, but stop and consider that instant isn’t alway better.

Sometimes you need to let your work cook.

Make your site something that’s so rad that people would miss it if it were gone (via Seth Godin). Make it something that is a part of people’s lives. Something worth typing into an address bar (or even bookmarking).

Make your thing so great that people will trade you their email address and the sacred access to their inbox just to keep up with you.

When you spend four hours a day on social media, you helped sell a lot of ads.

When you fill your site with two years worth of content, you had a body of work. Anyone with a web-browser can see your talent.

Your magic.

Get Living

“It totally confounds me how some writers, artists, even speakers, like stick to one thing and keep doing that one thing/preaching that one message. I get that it’s bad for branding, but I always want to be changing, growing, evolving. That’s art to me. That’s living.” Jocelyn Aucoin

I know I want to make music. I sit down, open up Abelton, and eh, we’ll see what happens. Sometimes I’m not in the mood for making music, so those nights I’ll work on my Goodnight, Metal Friend mixes.

Neither is “the thing,” I don’t think. Though I won’t know if I don’t keep at it. It helps that I enjoy the process.

Running became a thing. Been doing that since 2016, and more often than not I’m wearing a running shirt instead of a band shirt. How’d that happen?

Sitting in front of me is a fancy pants MIDI-controller, which makes working in Abelton even more fun. I’ve looked, and I’ve been toying with Abelton for since December 2017, so I guess that’s one of my things now, too.

The thing is, none of these “things” needs to be a thing. I’m probably not going to be an iconic producer or marathon legend, but that’s okay. That’s still living.

Your Website is Your Truth

A friend looking to possibly maybe starting down the path of a new gig. They’ve got this experience, but how do they really show it off?

“A website,” I exclaim!

“But how will people know it’s stuff I really did?

“Because your reputation precedes you. You’re a good person, you’re not a crook. If it’s on your website, it happened.”

Of course, that takes a few decades of building trust, establishing character. Day after day of trying to do the right thing, with the right people. But that’s the work.

Photo by Christina Morillo from Pexels

Put Your Health On Your Calendar

Would you work for someone who was constantly demanding email replies while you’re at the dentist? The doctors? In a meeting with another client?

No?

Then don’t work for someone who doesn’t extend the same grace to your lunch hour (or two). Or your afternoon run. Or your three-times a week personal trainer session.

Don’t want your workers sick? Rather they don’t use sick days? Then let them do the things they need to ensure their own health and wellness.

Sure, I speak of this from the self-employed, no-on-pays-me-a-full-time-salary rate anyways, but still, set up boundaries.

Work outs can be meetings. Self-care can be therapy. Block that time out for yourself, because without your best self nobody wins.

Photo by ready made from Pexels

Work Together on Cool Stuff When You Can

If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.

The behind the scenes episodes for The Mandalorian just blew me away. The level of “I didn’t know if I could do this” energy was astounding, but it goes to show that people are capable of amazing things when you trust them, support them, and give them space to fly.

Remember, if you’re not “thriving” with all your work calls and video chats it’s not because those things are bad, it’s also because we’re operating during a once-in-a-lifetime event. People will be talking about this moment in time 100 years from now.

Go easy on yourself.

Put On Your Shows

Been feeling the feels a lot lately about the whole “working with people” thing. I blame the making-of videos on Disney+ about The Mandalorian. I’m talking the energy that comes from being in the same room, or on a call with someone you’ve worked with for years and you’re just plotting big stuff.

“I didn’t really know what I was doing in college, but I got so wrapped up in the comedy scene, because it looked so fun, and it was. I had that dream for myself. Perform with my friends, put on our shows. But we had to also feed ourselves, and pay rent, and have jobs, so we grew up.”

Sunita Mani

I love that line, “perform with my friends, put on our shows.”

Our shows.

I love the sort of child-like vibe of that, “our shows.” I mean, Sunita Mani makes it sound like they really did those shows, it wasn’t just some two-bit affair, but for people who don’t put on their own shows, or book their own tours, or start their own sites, well, I guess it’s on the other side of the spectrum. You’re either doing your shows or “growing up.”

Put on your shows.

Make Without a Map

Photo by Kerimli Temkin from Pexels

Saw this today from ‘That which is unique, breaks,’ via @hundredrabbits.

If you commoditize toys, you remove the toymaker. If you remove the toymaker, the toy is only an object of consumption. It ceases to be an object of wonder.

When tasked in 2009 to “fill up the search engines,” during my time at AOL Music, we published 20+ posts a day. Anything that people might search for, let’s have something written and published.

Here we had a stable of competent, knowledgeable writers – all uniquely qualified individuals – cranking out SEO-friendly “content” to be read and indexed by machines.

As an editor this pained me.

Throw away posts about band members getting arrested got more traffic than finely written interviews with notable artists.

Therefore, feed the machine. Find the drama. Find the bleeding story in the ocean of content, attract the swarm of sharks.

At this point, the inmates run the asylum. The child screams for a cookie, so feed them cookies.

“That which is unique, breaks.”

A unique offering, built with editorial discernment, breaks.

I do not need to spoil your view with visions of this architecture, I only wonder, what have their creators ever repaired?

Who has turned the ship around? Rebuilt the damaged hull? Fixed a site? Started from scratch?

As Seth Godin says, “If there were a map, there’d be no art, because art is the act of navigating without a map.”

Showing Up is the Secret

From one of my recent emails from The Soft Run:

As I approached this house a kid (maybe 10 or 11) came running around a corner today, and yelled, asking to use my phone.

Then as I got closer, I realized he wasn’t wearing socks or shoes!

Just another day, just another run, right? Nope. One run out of almost 300 this year, and never once did I see a jeep set-up like the one above, nor did I help a kid get back into his house after being locked out in the middle of winter with no shoes or socks. BRRR.

I keep getting lost in the binary thinking of success, of making it. Either you’re a popular YouTube star with a million subscribers, or you’ve only got 13 and it feels like a waste of time.

You want to be this “thing,” but you don’t have the “social evidence” that you are the thing.

Are you a musician if no one buys your music? Are you a writer if no one replies to your pitches? Are you a photographer if you’re images aren’t on magazine covers?

Again, permission. Waiting for permission is the killer.

I am 44 years old – what right do I have to wear gaudy purple sneakers and tights and a cool jacket and run around the backroads here?

I work in music – what right do I have to make “dark ambient” mixes? What, do I think I’m going to MAKE IT?!?!

Wait, I thought I made dark ambient mixes – why am I making smooth chill jams with funky stock video footage?

Because I choose to.

Am I now locked into that identity? Must I now maintain a weekly music mix? Set up a live stream? Do a daily tune and post on every social network?

Well, if I choose to, sure.

Just go be everything you want to be. Doesn’t matter if it looks right, sounds right, has the right presentation – just make a little bit of magic each day.

This post partially inspired by Seth Godin’s ‘The Practice: Ship creative work‘ book.