300 in 10

X is one of the few letters which has never started one of these posts—until now.

X always stands for mystery; the unknown. On pirate maps, X marks the spot not because it’s so obvious, but because it is a mystery, an unknown, a private stash you weren’t supposed to find.

So, for this 300th post on the 10th anniversary, instead of writing about what I’ve done, I’m going to write about what I haven’t.

Yesterday I watched TED talks for a couple hours. They’re 18 minutes at most, so you can fit an almost numbing amount of inspiration and education into two hours. I was just looking for a big picture feel for who’s been saying what, so I was only half paying attention as I downloaded a hundred new songs from friends at FAWM.

Hearing an economist of 30 years lambaste me about passion and why I’m not going to have a great career got my attention.

It’s 15 minutes. I’ll wait while you watch it.

(Of course, if you just skip right over and keep reading I’ll never know unless you tell me. There will not be a quiz, I assure you.)

Best Beloved will tell you that my greatest passion is music. She knows that when I say I love her more than music, it’s the deepest expression of my devotion.

Some days, she says she’s not entirely convinced it’s true. I’m pretty sure she’s kidding. Pretty sure.

Thus far in my musical career, I have spent about $5,000 on music equipment, in various forms of payment (much of it was in trade for web work, another thing I love.)

I estimate I’ve earned about $750 total, between live performance and selling 12 or 13 copies of a CD I had one song on.

I haven’t recorded my own CD. I haven’t even tried very hard to sell the two songs I actually recorded to my (near) satisfaction. And now I’m going to put my business coach hat and tell myself why. You’re welcome to eavesdrop.

You, Joel, haven’t been making a good living as a singer/songwriter for the past 10 years because you’re afraid to fail at it. Try and fail, and you risk your greatest passion. Much better to avoid the whole thing, and struggle trying to decide whether you’re a web developer or an author coach or a writer. Failing at those (well, succeeding at a much lower level than you know is possible) is hard. Can’t pay the bills, keep switching horses in the middle of the stream, keep searching but not finding.

But it’s not difficult.

Difficult is the emotionally dangerous path, the one that requires actually having some skin in the game, the one that carries real live genuine risk for you because while you don’t care about money, you don’t care what you do for work, you don’t really care where you live, what country or what house, you’d be willing to eat whatever was put in front of you if need be—

—but risk your music? Try, and fail?

That would finally top the end of your first marriage as the most painful failure of your entire life.

And every day you put it off is another day it sticks in your craw, turning to the ashes of passion.

I am terrified, but it’s time. I have already decided that 2012 is the year I do everything different. Might as well make the big difference, eh?

Since I’ve already over-committed emotionally for March, I’m not going to sabotage this by giving myself a March deadline. Instead, we’ll go for May.

May I announce that on May 1, I’ll be releasing a completely re-recorded version of my Irish folk song Like the Sea with the verse that’s never been recorded, with Irish tin whistle and fiddle by my friend Robyn, and all the trimmings.

And you’ll be able to get your copy over at my musicommunity and business website, tunehenge.

And then, I’ll have solved one more mystery about me.

Okay, it’s probably fair to link to my very first post, written March 12th, 2002. Lotta water under this bridge since then. Buy me a pint and I’ll spill.

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