Monday night I had my gig with Birth of Venus. It went pretty well, considering the (small) amount of time we spent on Sentimental Gentleman. We got together earlier in the day to go over it with the band and I wasn't feeling solid about it, but it all came together rather nicely in performance. I had trouble finding a good place in the mix and wasn't as strong as I wanted to be, but I chalked it up to a combo of technical difficulties and performance anxiety. Historically, I struggle with both. I need to find some kind of guru for that.
Tonight I am playing a one-hour set at an art gallery. The gallery will be filled with friends and others who appreciate folk music, which is what I do, so theoretically it will be a safe place to practice not being nervous. I am trying to fill my mind with the positive, glowing things people say about me and my songs, instead of the scathing, critical loop I typically have playing in my head when I'm onstage. We'll see how that goes.
In other news, I mentioned a while back that I submitted an article to an online magazine. This month's edition of said mag is online and evidently my piece was not chosen for publication. Yay! My first official rejection! Truly glad that's out of the way. The piece that was chosen is totally stunning and far superior to mine. I am left to ponder: how can I develop my style? what can I write about that will reveal my particular strengths? is it even topic-related? Good writers can write about anything. I find myself in this discouraging position of learning about good writing through a process of elimination. ("Well, that wasn't good enough...") I'm excited to get on to the next submission but I'm struggling with lack of inspiration. I know I can't let this stop me. I need to alter my approach to writing, I think. I believe I have the potential...it's just a matter of guiding and shaping it.
I'm constantly torn between writing purely for the sake of writing and writing for someone else's approval. And by someone else's approval, I mean an editor, an audience, any reader other than me. Both have rewards. I have experienced the rewards of personal, journal-style writing for many years. Now I wish to reap other rewards. Rewards that come from hard work and resourcefulness. Rewards that will sustain me fianancially, not just spiritually.
The thing to do is start the next submission. Whether I'm inspired or not.