A little update on this blog, the word “gig” and what it is for me, and what I hope for it can be for you (plus an exploration into allowing curiosity to lead you back to your passion).
Living on Gigging
I started this blog, Living On Gigging, over 8 years ago while I was touring the United States and Europe, promoting my records, singing my songs, and trying with all my might to gain the love of strangers. It was a half-decade of trying to put myself on the map of humanity in the only way I thought I knew how.
I lived gig-to-gig.
Dating was dismissed as a distraction.
I spent much time saying “yes” to whatever gig I could get, playing to a lot of empty rooms, traveling in lonely car rides, and operating with eye-on-the-prize focus (which came with a complete set of big ole blinders).
One could say I was flailing. There was a lot of trial and error.
Really, had no clue what kind of “gig” I actually wanted or how to even define the word. I might have said that a “gig” was a singular job that pays me money. More fleeting than a full time job. It implied something creative to me. Something that sought me out as much as I sought it. There was a mutual playfulness in the word “gig” that “job” simply didn’t embody.
For a while, “gigs” were just performances to me. Live shows. Cafe gigs. Festival gigs. Acoustic gig. Cover gig. Wedding gig. Over time “gig” expanded to anything that paid that was within the realm of creativity. I got a theater musical director gig. Headed to my teaching gig. Worked on my film score gig.
Having just released my fourth record earlier this year, I continue to work through all the usual motions of PR, promotion, licensing pitches and funding to give it even the shortest of legs (basset-hound length would have been just fine). Yet, I have recently been finding myself void of passion. Curiosity is present, but that strong, do-or-die passion is lying dormant [I hope] somewhere unbeknownst to me. Elizabeth Gilbert says in her book “Big Magic” [BUY IT!!] that passion can be intimidating, while curiosity is life’s way of pointing you to it. As long as you’re curious, clues will show up to lead you down a path of fulfillment and, if you’re lucky, productivity, effectiveness and big magic.
I’ve decided to take on this curiosity with a vengeance. To not give up on music, but to let the clues guide me rather than the declarations I made over 10 years a go about HAVING to make it as a musician. How stressful to listen to my 25 year old self.
What did she know?
I can certainly thank 25-year-old me for obtaining skills in areas I now have affinity for and interest in, like film scoring, fitness, songwriting, personal development and branding. Thanks to her, I have a curiosity around these things. But I have new curiosities, like the one around country living and design. I have a curiosity around being a mom.
Curiosity and the gig
There are options: I can wait for clues to show up and follow them, like Alice and her rabbit. Or I can keep on my path of “I MUST MAKE IT AS A MUSICIAN” and ignore all the clues, and maybe miss out on returning to the music passion in a way I couldn’t before have imagined.
Or I can find middle ground. To not sit around and wait for universe clues, but to also not ignore them when they come. To find and accept “gigs” that are outside my norm, that may lead me to other places, that provide a place for me to dance in my own creativity.
Looking up the definition of “gig” I laughed out loud when I saw the first, a noun: “a light 2-wheeled one-horse carriage” – and my first thought was Am I the horse, doing the work, or the carriage, transporting something precious?
But I was pleasantly surprised by the second definition: “something that whirls or is whirled”. Which led me to investigate “whirl” which is “to move or go in a circle or curve especially with force or speed”. This seems more appropriate. There is velocity when it comes to gigs. Gigging is the thing you do to meet your ambitions. Gigs lead you there.
(I was also happy to see these definitions under gig as well: “a person of odd or grotesque appearance” and “a rowboat designed for speed rather than for work”.)
Here’s the thing: if you’re on a path to something you feel is grand, fulfilling, and worthwhile, then the path itself will be filled of gigs that are also grand, fulfilling, and worthwhile. And this will only be the case if you’re the thing causing them to happen.
So hop to it. Define your ideal gig and all the gigs that can help get you there and start taking actions- reaching out, making requests, and movin’ and a shaking’ like a one-horse carriage. And if you think you see the glimmer of a clue, follow it, with wonder. Why not?