Monday, June 16, 2008

Creating through stress

I'm usually wiped out by co-writing. It takes so much emotional energy to connect with someone and create through all the stress. You have expectations and hopes, and I'm a pleaser, so I really want them to like me and think I'm smart. After 4 hours of all that brainwork, I mostly want a meal and a nap. But I had two co-writes today I feel great! They were very different, one fast and high energy, one more contemplative and measured. But mostly, I'm just happy to be creating with other people and sharing this whole crazy experience of songwriting, instead of going it alone like I usually do. Eamon McLoughlin and I finished the duet we started over a year ago and I really like how it turned out. Now I just have to find someone to sing it with me!

I also found out today that I'm going to be playing at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival/Grassy Hill: Emerging Artists Showcase! I know I recently vowed that I wasn't going to enter any more contests, but I had already submitted to this one and kind of forgotten. But then a couple of weeks ago, I got a message saying the selection process was taking longer than expected and I was reminded that I had entered and was sent into that whole nasty cycle of checking e-mail and the festival website every hour to see if they had announced the artists. Uhg! I hate that I get so caught up in such things. But this isn't technically a contest, it's a showcase, so I can just be happy that I was selected and have fun at the festival and not worry about the survey they are going to give the audience to see who their favorites are. Yeah, right. I know I'm going to worry about it. Maybe the universe is giving me one more chance to really learn my lesson about being competitive and nervous.

I was listening to a podcast called the Accidental Creative the other day and in it, they were talking about the false boundaries and rules we put around ourselves as artists. There was a cool visualization from "The Now Habit" by Neil Fiore where you imagine walking across a board that is 1 foot wide and 30 feet long. No problem, right? Now, raise that same board 100 feet in the air. I, for one, would not even dare to take the first step. It's the same task, but the stakes are much higher. I thought about that when I played at Chattanooga Market on Sunday. I felt so comfortable, so in control of my voice, and I really had fun performing. And I wondered why I can't feel like that when I'm singing the exact same songs in front of judges. The one thing that's not going to help me, is to get nervous. So maybe it is good that I have one more contest in my future. It's one more chance to ignore the external judgement and high stakes and just live in the moment of my performance. The cool part is, if I succeed, I won't have to hate contests so much!

1 comment:

Paul said...

Abi,

We are so glad you enjoyed performing at the Chattanooga Market. I had so many nice comments about your set. It was fantastic. I hope Chattanooga realizes what great music they are in for this Friday!

Paul Smith
Palo Duro Records
Chattanooga Market