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More On The Five-year Plan...


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While assembling the list of 2009 Goals, I noticed a lot of them looked the same as last year. Finish the album; do another one. Enter more contests I can win. Find or create a band. Spend a week in Nashville. Continue writing an average of at least one good song a month.

There’s the operative word—CONTINUE. These are just incremental upgrades of what I’ve already been doing. The operative QUESTION is how those fit in with the Five-Year Plan, and whather I ought to be thinking them differently.

The end result I’m after is success as a writer. Five years from now, I want enough people recording and performing my songs on enough of scale that I can be making half my income off it. To accomplish that, I have to be well-enough known to be in demand. To become well-enough known, I have to perform: the primary means I’ve got to showcase my material—and my ability to write more—is to play it in public. Performance, in other words, is a means to an end.

Given that, next year’s goals should be EXPOSURE goals. It may not change what I do a lot, just how I think about them. An album? Sure—but what I need to do with it is have more copies pressed than last time, and have more places to sell it. Not just more gigs, but a CDBaby account, too, and racks in more retail stores. More gigs? Of course—and it doesn’t necessarily matter whether they’re paying gigs right now. More gigs in more places is more exposure.

Better recording equipment, too, because of what I want to do with it. With a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation—that’s what the little Tascam is) that can record more tracks and more songs at a time, I can better do favors for people—I can help them showcase their material better. That I did music for 12 songs this year by seven different lyricists is evidence I’ve already got better known—and I’ll be even better known as a result. Get the video camera working, too; I need some performance video of me for gig-getting purposes—and if it works, it’s something I can do for others, too.

And the publishing company. There, I know what I have to do, I think; it simply needs to get done. Like the video camera, the publishing company is a tool—a key that unlocks a door I couldn’t otherwise get through. Should I try to get other clients besides myself? That’s a big unknown at this point—but if I can establish a good enough set of contacts to benefit me, it may work for others, too. That’s an item that needs to be added to the list: Get to know more publishers. (Something to do on next year’s trip to Nashville.) Work on that list of regionally famous people needing good material, too.

Staying in touch with people is important, too, though a lot of work. Right now, I’ve “cells” of folks I know in southern Oregon, Eastern Oregon, and the Oregon Coast, and I need to do a better job of hanging out with all of them. Wherever a job lands me, I’m going to end up with more people to stay in touch with, and I need a way to do it easily and personally. I could end up traveling a lot in whatever spare time I have. I also know scattered individuals across the U.S. and Canada, some of whom I have yet to meet in person—and I want to. How do I manage that?

UPDATES: My resume is still circling the globe, and hasn’t landed many places yet; only one of the jobs I’ve applied for is within commuting distance—the rest would entail me relocating. Interviews for most of them, if they happen, won’t happen until January. In the meantime, I have a couple of House Projects to do, the “Broken Record” to finish, plus Dick and Carol’s Christmas album to do; the Saturday Thing at the Tillamook library starts this weekend, and I need to put up a new “band wanted” ad on craigslist—the last one got virtually no response at all, and I do want a band.

Joe

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