Floating Heads of Wisdom’s Past – The Ramble
If you read my daily quote, Floating Heads of Wisdom’s Past, then you already have a good idea what this is about. If you haven’t read it, you should so you can catch up. I’ve already covered the teachers’ faces floating around me outside of a cafe. They were all speaking at the same time. And, they were all saying a variation of the same thing. The only time their words lined up was when they said the word ‘writing’. That day was the last time they all appeared at the same time. Every now and then one pops up and gives me inspiration then vanishes back into the ether of the past. They’ve been visiting less frequently these days.
(Photo Credit: ME)
Now, I’m in Nashville, Tennessee. Good ole Music City and its promises of opportunities. It’s the Las Vegas of the south for freelancers and start-ups. Except here you aren’t gambling money or the title to your car (directly)–you are gambling yourself, your art, and your talents. The number people who come here to start up their own business venture is huge. Nashville is the third largest growing city in the United States based on the GDP (Gross Domestic Product). The GDP is the amount of finished goods and services within a country or state’s borders. This means people are coming here with a business and talent. As more and more talent floods in, lesser and lesser room is left for new, less-established comers.
There are countless people who came, saw, and conquered a serving job instead of music stardom. They’re line cooks instead of photographers. They are the dreamers who either didn’t try hard enough or gave up too early. One thing or another dug a hole so intrusive that they couldn’t help but fall into it just short of their goal. I knew that moving here but I just couldn’t ignore the voices of those teachers. So, in 2013 I made the decision to make writing my future. And, it wasn’t easy.
Upon arriving here I had no articles written and one terrible manuscript hanging around like a sign on a rundown building. My writing resume didn’t exist and I had no idea why I thought this was a good idea. Instead of letting the fear take hold I contacted some online magazine, Sick of the Radio, and offered to do a feature on a band. They agreed to it only after I wrote up an interview they set up with an artist out of Texas and a couple product reviews. At this point I’d take anything I could get. Those few articles helped me land a few more. All of these, by the way, have been unpaid. By the end of that year, 2013, I felt defeated. Jobs were turning me down. The ones I got weren’t paying and the drive I had sitting outside that cafe in my hometown had deflated.
That’s it?, I remember thinking to myself, I want this and I want it now. Then, the voice of my high school English teacher reminded me that I should be doing this. I then reminded myself that it is going to take more than six months to establish myself. I shook off the doubt that this isn’t the right direction for me and kept my head down and the words coming.
In December of 2013 I had an opportunity to model for a hair care product in Atlanta. It was my first big photo shoot. And, at the “W” in Midtown Atlanta I realized that modeling is fun and all, but writing is my passion. Plus, I learned that I could use the camera to find opportunities for words. As luck would have it I landed gigs writing some SEO content for the hair care company, as well as a press release. These were my first paid writings. After that, 2014 started picking up for me.
Looking back over my ‘Work(s)‘ section is when all of this hit me. The things you want don’t happen now. They happen ‘now’ after you put the time in ‘then’. Also, it showed me that putting in the work, even through the times it feels like it is pointless, pays off if you let it. Talent pools can be the size of an ocean but if you don’t try to swim you will surely sink.
I already have passed my initial career year (2013) and it is only the first month of 2015. At this rate I will double my work from last month.
While none of these are The New Yorker or Rolling Stone they are just as important. Why? Because it’s about putting the work in. It’s about carrying on even when you think it is frivolous. It’s about not worrying about stressing to get into established magazines because, in due time, the moment will happen. It only can if you keep yourself focused and always striving towards it.
I haven’t heard voices from those teachers since early 2014. Maybe I’m less crazy than I was then. I like to think it is because they know I don’t need it right now. When I’m struggling, my mind will reach into those memory banks and fire out a voice of some teacher at random. It’s good to know I’ll always have them on my side.