Last Monday I finally brought to life an idea I've been imagining for several years - I produced and performed my first ever solo show! It featured music that has been meaningful to me, original tunes by yours truly, and stories of how both categories of songs have been important in shaping my life and identity. The night was scary, thrilling, awkward, fun, emotional . . . I could go on for awhile. Overall, it was a massive success in the ways I hoped, but it also impacted me in a way I didn't expect.
I am always so excited when I book a new show; everything from the first day of rehearsal with the team to opening night lights me up. However, I'm learning that I am better equipped to invest in the collaborative creative process when I am intentionally taking time to invest in my personal creative process. Working on my solo show began to revive a well of creativity and excitement inside me I didn't realize was nearly dry. The hours and days I spent finishing compositions, coordinating schedules and running rehearsals were exhausting, but each moment dedicated to those tasks invigorated my soul. This work was for me and only me.
Yes, playing a role in a production excites and feeds me, but there are additional motivators that are usually involved beyond just internal drive. The expectations of others, pay check, pride, fear of a director, insecurities - these are all possible incentives that keep an artist on course even when we'd rather take a day off. For my show there was no boss and no paycheck, just the desire to present my life, my talent and my music professionally, entertainingly and with a whole lot of heart.
Whatever it is you love to do in life - paint, sing, design, build, manage, cook, write, whatever - set aside some time to do it in a way that is explicitly and selfishly for YOU. Maybe you'll make money from the venture, maybe not. Maybe it will be exactly what you imagined, maybe not. But it will be for you, and that will be enough.