Wow!  That was intense.  I watched all of the clever, short movies at commoncraft.com – very cool.  I read the article about Twitter.   I did my best to follow all of the steps outlined in this chapter.  It felt a little bit like I was “falling down rabbit holes” every where I went – but I think I managed to navigate back to the surface.  My head is swimming with all of this stuff – but it is definitely all making sense to me.

I have debated about getting a SmartPhone or an iphone – but have not gotten either yet.  I am almost due for an upgrade and am deciding which way I’ll go.  When I do decide, I’ll start tweeting from my phone. For now, I’m going to tweet from my computer.

Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, iLike, mevio – I was everywhere today.  I dug deeply into “reading / following” a large number of people on Twitter and I’ve gotten many responses back already – to be “followed” back.   I feel like I’m learning as I go – and that, somehow, this challenge to dive in will make sense to me – over time.

On another note, I read an article this week – on the last page of the current Tape Op magazine (if you have it) – by Larry Crane.   I’ll quote some of it here.

Larry was emailing with a friend and peer in recording engineering.   He said, “It was a really crushing realization to look back, after eight years of being booked solid – three to four months in advance, that most of the records I loved the most were completely dead.   Bands had broken up;  people stopped making music.   And worse, in some ways, they were all fine with it – but I felt really sad.   Those projects, that no matter how great you thought they were, and how much promise the artists had (in part because of [my] work), when they grind to a halt that’s it.  They aren’t coming back, and apart from the lessons learned, the character building, and friendship building, it kind of doesn’t matter whether they ever happened or not.   That’s tough to swallow.   For me that’s almost my whole discography!”

The article goes on to say, “More music is produced each year than there is room to write about in magazines, play on the radio, use in films or (certainly) sell in stores and online. Look at the statistics from last year:  98,000 albums were released in 2009 in the US.  Only 2.1 percent of these albums sold over 5,000 copies – but all the records that sold over 5,000 account for 91% of the total sales of music.   373.9 million albums were sold in 2009.”

“In most cases, the artists I know who sell over 5,000 copies of an album (or at least most of the 1000 in their pressing), are doing a hell of a lot of touring, making friends and connections, and running concerted web and press campaigns to keep their faces visible.” “… how frustrating it [is] to work on projects, believe in them, and try to do [my] best, only to find the artists decided not to tour, or that they never even did have any album release plans in the first place.”

“But still, one part of my own recording career that buoys me up is all the artists, with whom I’ve worked, [who] have kept going in their careers (or carved out a solid spot with unique work), and gained a long-term audience and respect in the music world.”

My friends – I think we can count ourselves among those artists who are daring to “carve out a solid spot.” Keep carving.

On my home page, I installed the widget that allows for a free song download in exchange for signing up for my mailing list.  I chose the title track from my CD, Trust the Sky – thinking that it would have added marquis value. I also made sure to post my pitch on all of my social media pages.  Recently,  I did an overhaul to my website and, having read Ariel’s first edition of Music Success in Nine Weeks, I guess I had a running start at Chapter 3.

I continue to chip away at my other goals too.  Work expands to fill available time.

I’m illustrating a children’s book that will be accompanied by a song.  I began the first two pages today.  Little by little…

"tomorrow is a very happy day..."

3rd Street Promenade - Santa Monica

Mark Twain, in the “p.s.” of a letter, once famously wrote,  “I”m sorry this letter is so long.  I didn’t have time to write a short one.”

David McCullough said,  “Writing is thinking.  To write well is to think clearly.  That’s why it’s so hard.”

Here is what I’ve arrived at for my pitch.  I invite any thoughts.

“I’m paula mcmath.  I’m a singer songwriter.  I’m influenced by my idols; Mitchell,  Cohen,  Griffin,  Dylan,  and Waits. I try to sing what I can’t say.  I’m most often compared with the acoustic, folk sounds of  Joni Mitchell or Patty Griffin.”

If the elevator ride is long enough,  I would add,  “I aim to distill things down to the right words and then make them sing.  I find the melody that the words suggest – or sometimes vice versa. (On rare occasions, the words and music come together.)  I record the songs simply, acoustically -not overwhelming them with production.”

Yoda said,  “Do, or do not.  There is no try.”  I disagree with this one.  I believe that there is try.  Trying is important.

Since it seems 6 is the magic number for tasks to complete in a day,  I created 6 areas of focus for my goals.  They are:

1.  PR / Press:  do cyberPR, find leads and send CDs out, seek press

2.  Songs:  write 15 new songs by the close of the year

3.  Gigs:  continue weekly gigging – book 2 more big gigs by Dec.

4.  Exercise:  5 days week – walk and do light weights

5.  Online / Social Networking:  email, blog, Facebook, Twitter

6.  Music Conferences / Networks:  TAXI in Nov., Durango in Feb.

Within those 6 areas, I’ve set goals for myself to attain by the end of the year – or the start of next year.  I’m going to chip away at them by doing one thing each day towards each goal.

Music Success in 9 Weeks / Blog Challenge
mSi9wks / Blog Challenge

I’ve learned a few things, in the last eight months, about the process of self-promotion as a musician / artist.   It’s not a comfortable place for me to dwell in…  It’s uncomfortable, for me, to feel like I need to be saying “look at me — look at me” when what I do actually comes from a very quiet, introverted place.

I’ve found that most of the time, things move really slowly.  Mostly you send out the emails and wait… but gradually, a few things have come back to me for my efforts.   I’ve gotten a couple of nice reviews recently – one at Paul Zollo’s ezine, Blue Railroad     http://bluerailroad.wordpress.com/reviews/
and one in Music Connection                     http://musicconnection.com/digital/index.php?page=49ws/

At this point, I feel a need to simplify and narrow my focus.  I guess that is where Ariel’s Blogging Challenge comes in. I look forward to the accountability and motivation that this community will offer.