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Monday, October 24, 2011

The Best Things In Life are Frightening

Hi there,
Now I'm not talking about extreme sports here although perhaps the reasoning is similar. If you're a performer reading this, have you ever been backstage, about to go on and felt your nerves knot, stomach churn and brow dot with sweat? Maybe you're saying to yourself, 'What if I forget the lyrics? What if nobody likes what I do? Why the hell do I put myself in this position?' I read once that Deni Hines regularly vomited before getting on stage for a particular show.

I think part of the reason why the hell we do it is Adrenaline and other natural chemicals. I've decided that a bit of fear is actually good for you, and dare I say it, feels good. I think of all the greatest happenings in my life and fear has been an important factor in all of them. Leaving home at 17 to live in at a country university where I knew noone? Exciting! Leaving a well paid corporate job to become a professional singer. Crazy? Perhaps. Scary? Definitely. Falling in love? Cue that fight or flight syndrome, quickening heartbeat and of course that lovely Dopamine.  Having a baby - surely one of the scariest but most fulfilling things a human being can do?

So sometimes I wonder if I do things in my life on purpose to get my pulse racing, without even realising. I did hear someone advise once, that you should do something every day that scares you.

My latest attempt to keep myself unnerved is booking two gigs where I've committed to play a whole swag of new tunes. That's daunting on its own for me. Trouble is, I booked the gigs - and started promoting them - without actually having written any of the aforementioned songs.

16 days to go until the first gig. Yes I am freaking out just a bit. I am a notoriously slow songwriter and 16 days would be a reasonable timeframe for me, for the first draft of one song. But I can honestly say I like living here out on a limb. The best things in life are frightening.

Terrfiy me, please.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

What Do You Hate Not Doing?

What do you hate not doing?

I love this question. It seems easier to talk about what you love doing, but for me, it's the things in life you can't do without that really matter. I've had a helluva year and while things seem to be on the up now, I've never thought more about the things I would miss if I weren't around anymore! I saw this blog from Derek Sivers (founder of CDBaby and all round smart bloke). I've also just finished reading his fabulous book 'Anything You Want'. 

Things I hate not doing? Definitely in order: 1.Being with my family and friends. 2.Writing music and singing. 3.Eating. I love lots of other stuff but they're the only ones that really matter. Here's Derek's blog, below (from
'We've all asked ourselves, “What do I really love?” or “What makes me happy?”
I've wrestled when the emotion-based answers conflict with expectations. (I'm a musician, but I love working alone. Does that mean I should be a producer instead of performer? I'm an entrepreneur but I hate doing business deals. Does that mean I'm more of a CTO than CEO?)
Last week I thought of it a different way, that I like better:
What do you hate NOT doing?
(What makes you feel icky, irritated, annoyed or off-track if you don't do it enough?)
I hate not programming.
Programming, to me, is the ultimate purposeful creativity. I have so many ideas in my head of websites that would make the world a better place if they existed, services that could help people. It's just a matter of taking a thousand hours to type it all out and turn ideas into reality. Any week not programming is a disappoinment to myself and maybe to others.
I hate not writing.
There are so many things I've learned that I think would help other people to know. Things I wish someone had told me sooner. Things that have made my life better, brighter, or wiser. I want to tell everyone these things before I die, in a well-explained way so they're not misunderstood, and easy to pass on to others. And more new ones are added every week. So I have to keep writing to get them all out. Any day I'm not writing, I'm falling further behind in this goal, which I makes me feel worse.
I hate not biking.
I love the adrenaline rush of riding my bike. I love knowing it's good for my health, and making my legs and cardiovascular system stronger so I can bike across India soon. I love it so much that when I don't do it for even a few days, I get annoyed. When I see other people biking, and I'm not biking, I get jealous.
I hate not talking with friends.
I'm in my own head so much, that I love hearing what my friends are thinking about instead. I love how my friends think. I care about them and feel icky when too disconnected from them for too long.
Asking the double-negative seems to be a better indicator of what I really love doing, than asking it in the positive.
Anyway - I'm probably overlooking some of my own, but now I'm more curious to hear yours.
What do you hate NOT doing?'