Poor, Poor Baby (Wk 7)

I’m not going to lie to you. This week was a crash for me emotionally. I have been on a relentless pace since starting this Music Success in Nine Weeks challenge seven weeks ago. And I think the 16-hours days are finally catching up with me.

It’s been quite a ride. From the moment I took this challenge on, I have been inspired… nay… rushing to do the million and one things I have been meaning to do for AGES. Indicating, perhaps, one of reasons I put them off before now. There is just not enough time in the day to do all the organizational things I want to do and still play music. Instead, there are huge learning leaps with just about everything I’ve been taking on these past two months – redesigning/updating my website, making a music video, becoming a regular blogger and social media broadcaster and so on and so on. And when you’re an all or nothing gal like me, “all” – like the internet – is an ever growing universe.

What A Rollercoaster!
I thought this week would bring me a little rest. Make space for more music making. The task: look at ways to incorporate our mailing list into our social media plan. I have had an email list going for several years now. It is a healthy size, growing slowly but surely over time. I love that I can chat informally with fans and friends via my newsletters, and it’s always a gift when someone replies to me directly. I thought I would do the simple task of switching service providers to one with a few more cool features and a better sign up form — something I’ve been wanting to do for awhile. And spend the rest of my week doing some prep work for my new recording.

Simple, right? All I had to do was (1) migrate the list, (2) write an email from the old platform saying “we’re moving” and (3) write an email from the new platform saying “we’ve moved”. Done, and onto the good stuff.

But nooooooooo. Technical difficulties abound!!!!!! It’s like I sat down to write a note on a piece of beautiful, crisp stationary, and I couldn’t find a single pen with ink in it anywhere in the house. I won’t bore you with more details of what went wonky, but let’s just say that instead of taking an afternoon, it’s been three days now of fussing with templates and broken links and blah blah blah. I’m finally ready to send out my note, and all the wind is *fffoooooooop* knocked out of me.

It’s time to throw myself a five-minute pity party!

Here’s what I do when I’m feeling low. When technical difficulties overwhelm me. When a new song I’m writing fizzles out after a verse and a chorus. When I get passed over for a festival spot or an award nomination. When I learn that that grant proposal I spent a week a half writing didn’t go through… when I’m feeling sad and alone in the world and quite certain that nobody gives a s*** about me or the arts… that’s when I call on a little “Poor Baby” time.

If I can call a friend with a sympathetic ear, that’s especially nice. But even if I can’t cuz it’s 3 am in the morning, and nobody I know is awake… I can still give myself a “poor baby”. Moan and bemoan all the choices I’ve ever made in my life. Woooaaaaaah!

You should try it too. Yes, I mean it. Whatever your loss is. Throw your fists up at the sky and wail “whyyyyyy meeeeeee?” Cry and gnash your teeth as you say “It’s not faaaaaair.” You are five years old… you are where the wild things are… you are having yourself a good old fashioned melt-down. Then, pat yourself and say, “poor baby”.

Rail out: “it’s not fair, everything sucks!”, then murmur softly “poor baby.” Don’t try fix anything, and don’t let anyone else tell you to buck up and quit blubbering. For five minutes, don’t compare yourself with anyone else in the world or with any one else’s sorrow. Just keep repeating “poor baby” until the sadness and frustration start to subside. After that, eat your supper. Maybe, just maybe you’ll be able to get on with the pleasures of living.

Yo Ellis, Get a Grip

I don’t care if it sounds self-indulgent. I don’t care if it’s “childish” and “irrational”. And I don’t care if it makes me a softie. Cuz what’s exactly what I want to be… soft. I don’t care if it sounds way out of proportion… a whole lot of poor baby over the small matter of a mailing list snafu.

It may be a simple exercise in improving the flow and delivery of my newsletter, but sometimes the smallest things become an existential crisis. When I’m nose-deep in technical problems, how quickly the questions rise up about my value as an artist: Are my songs any good? Do I have what it takes? How long can I keep up this pace? Does anybody really care enough about my music to make all this drudgery worth it?

That’s when I need to be kindest to myself. Like a mama rocking her fretful baby, her poor, poor baby.

Post script
Eventually I did get my list move sorted out. I even figured a work around for a glitch in the new platform (it wouldn’t let me add one particular link to my email in the way I wanted.) I have written the notes to let subscribers know what’s happening, and hopefully not too many people will be freaked out by the change and unsubscribe.

And this week I even received a couple of nice music nods… my video for How The Tiger Lost Her Roar was featured on the Songwriter’s Association of Canada (SAC)’s homepage. And I was also named “Larrivee Guitars’ Player of the Week” on their Facebook Fanpage. Like I said, it’s been a rollercoaster.

Post Post Script
Oh yeah, and I suppose I would be remiss if I did not invite you to subscribe to my newsletter. So, if you’d like to get my newsletters filled with upcoming events, exclusive content and shorter versions of this sort of philosophical musing directly in your inbox, be sure to sign up! :)


Next week: “Creating a Continuum Program”.
Look for my next blog update Monday March 5th.

For more about the blogging challenge I have embarked on for my 2012 New Year’s resolution, see my earlier posts:
Warm up: Does Anybody Ever Win These Things
Week 1: What The Mayans Can Teach Us About Setting Goals, Or…
Week 2: Hold the door, this elevator is going up!
Week 3: Home Sweet Homepage
Week 4: Social Media and the Theory of Everything
Week 5: Music Videos Are Not Dead! They’ve Just Gone North For The Winter.
Week 6: I’ve Looked At Blogs From Both Sides Now

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16 Comments

Filed under MSi9W3, Music, Writing

16 responses to “Poor, Poor Baby (Wk 7)

  1. Hey! We had the same week! I don’t feel so all alone about the crushing doubts and the technical frustrations and the general sense that the world doesn’t give a fig for songwriters. Great post, Karyn. So glad I know you.

  2. PS – Your list collector gets irritated if I try to enter a postal code instead of a zip code. Just sayin’. Great job, nevertheless.

  3. I just want to assure you that you (and Ariana Gillis and Kim Koren and Grainne and Ian Reid and Dawn & Marra) are, in my estimation, the best singer-songwriters around today. Also, I do appreciate all the effort that you make to use social media to relate to us, your fans. I appreciate it very much. Other singer-songwriters have put out an occasional blog/newsletter but no one that I know has done anything near as much as you in this respect. Your music, though, is the most important thing

    • Thanks again for your kind and encouraging words, David. I always appreciate hearing your thoughts and responses to the stuff I’m sharing! And that’s some fine company you’ve put me alongside, thanks! : )

  4. I would agree with David that you seem incredibly on top of it! You make the rest of us look bad :P Great feature on SAC! Keep ’em coming!

  5. Oh my gosh Karyn, the next time I throw a pity party I’m going to invite you because yours sound like such a great time haha Such a fun post. You are inspiring and down to earth and I just LOVE getting your musings, even when they’re fraught with frustrations about technical issues (I can relate!). Just keep partying when things go wrong! haha

  6. Loved your blog. I was feeling a bit down…so I tried your remedy of throwing my arms in the air, and asking “Why me?’. It released a lot of tension. I wonder what you’re going to write about next.

  7. Pingback: At My Own Pace « recklessgrace

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