I came to New York with enough hope to classify me as deluded.
But I read The Secret. Visualize the life you want, and it will come to be. So I visualized my life. I was touring with my band. I was recording an album. I was living in New York City.
Fast forward a year and a half. I'm living in New York City. I'm recording an album. I'm not touring with my band, yet.
I was convinced that if I just moved to NYC and gave it my all, I could make a living as a singer/songwriter here. Instead, I've made my living by some fortunate circumstances largely unrelated to music, that are not sustainable, and that I don't feel good about. I'm not even breaking even on my musical ventures, let alone making enough to support myself.
Where do I go from here? Do I just keep visualizing and believing?
And why am I so despondent about it? I know so many people, hundreds of people, talented people, that have not made it to "doing this for a living" status. In fact, I'm not even sure where I get off feeling like I deserve to do this for a living, when so many others have paid more dues than I and still don't.
And I know so many stories--Jonathan Larson, who wrote Rent, comes immediately to mind--of people who toiled in their creative pursuits for 10+ years before getting anywhere. He had the poor fortune to die right as he was about to break through into the wild success which became of Rent.
Larson died from a rare, undiagnosed, genetic medical condition. A simple procedure could have saved his life. I only wonder if it was his starving artist lifestyle that kept him from the routine medical care that might have diagnosed him and prevented his death.
No way to prove it, but it's a distinct possibility.
Maybe we do just live and die for our art. Perhaps scrambling through this existence to nurture the art and bring it to life is our only purpose. Even if it kills us.
I imagine Larson wouldn't have given up everything he did to make Rent successful, even knowing that it would lead to his early death.
Then again, there's no way to ask him.
And maybe there's a space in between? Somewhere between suffering for something and just surfing through life? A balance between sacrificing everything for your art and enjoying your precious, short time on earth?
Honestly, if you really want to be successful in art, I'm not sure there is.