All open mic nights are the same. Show up early, put your name on the list, get a drink, pretend to care about other people’s art for two hours, get up on stage, fumble around with a crappy sound system for five minutes, do your allotted time for seven minutes, thank the audience for judging you, pray that people come up to you after the set say hello, get another drink, then beat yourself up until closing time about how nobody recognizes your artistic brilliance. It’s all permission and no control. It’s high labor intensity for low return on investment. There has to be a better way to share your art with the world. You have to go where the door is already open.
PERMISSIONLESS PLATFORM — Hiring yourself to create a local artist’s residency
Rand’s famous question says it all. Are you asking who’s going to let you, or who’s going to stop you? That’s the beauty of hiring yourself. The world is not going to tap you on the shoulder and say, thanks, but you’ve got to stop now. Are you giving open mic nights the power to make or break your career? That, my friends, is how you put yourself in the way of what you seek. It's a reminder that chasing your dreams is work, but creating the opportunity to chase your dreams is work too.
What if, instead of schlepping around from bar to bar every night, you hired yourself as the resident musician for your local public park? That’s what I did. I scoped out an area with a lot of foot traffic, and then just started showing up with my guitar, every weekend, playing and singing as loud as I possibly could, for two hours at a time. And audiences just started showing up. Real people who actually wanted to hear my music. And not only would they listen and sing and dance and give me money and take pictures and record videos and take my business card and email me the next day, but they would tell their friends. Which meant I had to come back every week. And so, I created an artist’s residency for myself. I officially incorporated my art into the community. I became a fixture. Not because I put my name on a list, but because I just showed up started singing. It forced me to keep writing new songs, keep expanding my vocal range, and keep iterating on those tunes until they found their center of gravity and became ready for studio recording. Nobody could have given that to me. But then again, it's not who's going to let you, but who's going to stop you. That, my friends, is how you put yourself in the way of what you seek.
Chasing your dreams is work, but creating the opportunity to chase your dreams is work too. Life is different if you believe that opportunity is subordinate to wherewithal. Start showing up, in public, every weekend, with nothing but your instrument and a story to tell. Make your permissionless platform your consistent routine of healthy, proactive creative activity that puts you in the way of your goal. Are you asking who's going to let you, or wondering who's going to stop you?
Incorporate your art into the community and become a fixture
Exponentially increase your frequency of public exposure as a creator
Attract opportunities for connection, collaboration and commercial reward
Build an unlimited creative platform where you can hone and perfect new ideas