The realization of self-sabotage

It took saying the words out loud for it to really make sense:  I AM USING NON-CREATIVE BUSY WORK AS AVOIDANCE. My husband and I were on the beach in Puerto Rico last week (I know...sorry) and as we walked along the shore I mentioned a list of things that I still needed to get done before I can really get back in the saddle and start playing shows, release new music, connect with other artists, etc. Since I took a break from my solo career for the last 2 years, I've been busy rebuilding my website, rewriting my bio, getting my online presence set, shooting & editing a video for my new show. And although these tasks seem like the most important ones right now, they are NEVER AS IMPORTANT AS BEING CREATIVE AND SOCIAL! Tod (handsome hubby) is always great about kindly slipping this reminder into the conversation. I realized on that seaside walk that I am actually pretty scared about diving back into the indie singer/songwriter world. This is very hard to admit. My main fear is the loneliness. In the past, this has been my main struggle. There are times when a week can go by and I've been cooped up in my little world; maybe working on a mix, booking shows, managing socials, editing a video. Staring at a computer screen instead of getting out and connecting, which is my favorite part about being a performing artist. So as I return to my passion, I have to always look for ways to stay engaged socially. Here are a few ways that I am going to do this:

1) I just joined the Twin Cities Gay Men's Chorus! Now celebrating its 35th year, TCGMC is a volunteer community chorus whose mission is Gay Men Building Community Through Music. TCGMC seeks to provide its members with rewarding musical experiences and to promote social exchange. I am so excited about the friendship possibilities, the community outreach and the opportunity to sing some extremely gorgeous music!

2) Networking events - It's so important to always be connecting with fellow artists, exploring opportunities to collaborate and learn from each other. One great way to do this is through Springboard for the Arts, which is chock-full of resources, education & networking opportunities for working artists. There is even a Resource Fair coming up this weekend that should be a lot of fun!

3) GIG 'n' GIVE - This house concert with a mission (that I launched just before I took my break) is my main performance focus for this year. I am determined to get as many of these on the calendar as possible in 2016. I probably should set a goal--2 a month? 1 every weekend? My first step is to begin contacting past hosts and potential new hosts who have expressed interest. Spring is just around the corner, which is a great time for a party!

4) SONG by NOON - This is a brand new idea (thanks again, Tod) that we came up with in Puerto Rico. I pick a friend, we connect at 9 a.m., we write their song, record it, then throw it up on the web...All in just a few hours! More details on this to come, but I am really excited to do one and see what happens. Creativity on the fly!

So with these avenues, I think I have a pretty good plan of attack to fend off those lonely, defeating days. Have you experienced this yourself? If so, what are the tactics and solutions that work for you?

-Ryan Lee