Mon. April 16, 2018: Letting Go #UpbeatAuthors

Monday, April 16, 2018
Waxing Moon
Mercury DIRECT (as of yesterday, thank goodness)
Jupiter Retrograde
Patriots’ Day

Today is that weird day known as Patriots’ Day here in MA, about the official start of the American Revolution. However, I’m not taking the holiday this year; I’m on site with a client.

The Upbeat Authors theme today is “letting go.” The timing is interesting, because I’m in the process of doing that on many levels.

One of the hardest things I had to let go was my career working backstage on Broadway, when I moved from New York to Cape Cod. I was aging out of the work, slowing down, and didn’t have the physically or the mental stamina to keep doing what I did best. I knew I wanted to leave while I still loved it, not wait until I was in pain all the time and bitter. I also knew if I was going to make the commitment to my writing, it needed to be full-time. There’s a saying “the theatre is a jealous mistress.” That is not a myth. It is a reality. I had to choose between working backstage on Broadway and writing while exhausted, or writing (and yet, I’m still often exhausted).

I chose writing.

I let go of tech work backstage on Broadway.

Letting go of that career, writing full time, and moving to a completely different region was a lot. The stress and frustration increased when I arrived here and the expectation was that I would continue to work in technical theatre around here — for free. “For fun.”

And the attitude of “oh, we don’t pay for writers,” yet the constant stream of demands from local strangers that I should write for them without pay and be grateful for the opportunity.

And, how, exactly, am I supposed to earn a living? Oh, yeah, at a minimum wage or less job that has nothing to do with my career, because my career was never a “real job” in the first place., according to the locals.

Uh, no.

I had to let go of the fantasy that I moved to a place full of vibrant, working artists. That was the hardest, more wrenching, and most disappointing part of the move. There are plenty of vibrant, working, WONDERFUL artists here — but they’re not getting paid what they’re worth. Too few of them make their living at it, because the community does not support them as working artists. The community — and the artists — consider the art something to do ” on the side” which has never been my take on being a working artist.

I do not work in the local theatres for free, and the handful of local writing clients I have pay me. The rest of my clients are based at a distance, and we work remotely, or with infrequent in-person meetings (I do not work by phone).

I’ve “let go” of the idea that I’ll convince these entrenched individuals with their mis-spelled materials (which means they’ve lost my business) to pay writers. I’m not even talking about paying me, just, for the love all that is Oxford comma, pay SOMEONE fairly to come up with decent materials.

I get my work elsewhere.

I don’t argue with them. I say “no” and move on. When they try to argue, I add, “This is my business, not my hobby. You get paid to work. So do I.” That’s that.

I’m in the process of “letting go” of a lot of stuff I’ve accumulated over the years. When I moved up from New York, it took two moving trucks to get it all here. I still have a basement full of stuff that I haven’t gone through. I’m in the process of doing it. I’m “letting go” of what no longer works for my life.

I do NOT believe in the “if you haven’t used/worn it for a year, throw it out” or “for everything you bring into the house, throw something out.” During lean times, digging into stuff I’ve kept has sustained me through them, and given me the security to work out of them. As I’m letting go of stuff now, I trust my gut to its meaning, and whether or not I see it in the future I’m building. To me, the above “rules” are a way to get people to throw things out so they buy more things.

I’m even giving away books. I still have 250 boxes of books in my basement. I’m giving way mostly fiction, books I either don’t remember or know I won’t re-read. I’ve built my non-fiction library over the years, and I’m keeping that. With the way libraries weed out books nowadays, I often can’t find the books I need for research. So, when I buy them, I keep them. I end up using them for multiple projects.

“Letting go” of what no longer serves your life allows you time and space on both physical and emotional levels. I like to use the past to build the future, not just eradicate it to start fresh.

You have to do what works best for YOUR life. The best we can do is listen, offer our personal stories, and try to help each other navigate these choices.

 

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Published in: on April 16, 2018 at 6:48 am  Comments Off on Mon. April 16, 2018: Letting Go #UpbeatAuthors  
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