The benefits of comparison

This is Part II of a blogversation on the Artist Soapbox site about comparing ourselves to other artists. Read Part I, by Mara Thomas too.
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Over churros at Cocoa Cinnamon, Mara and I spent some time talking about what she termed “low-frequency comparison.”  Low-frequency comparison is the kind of comparison you use to make yourself feel bad – a self-flagellating tool. “High-frequency comparison” on the other hand is the kind of comparison you use to encourage yourself – an inspirational tool. Low-frequency’s easy to slide into. It’s familiar, simple and doesn’t require us to make any changes in behavior or thought patterns. Low-frequency comparison allows more of the same…and more of the same is easier, the path of least resistance.
So, if comparison sling-shots you directly into low-frequency territory, then I totally agree with Mara, just don’t go there. Don’t do that to yourself. Stop comparing immediately. If you consistently race towards low-frequency, that’s a signal to investigate your own awesomeness for awhile and learn to embrace your self-worth. That’s a signal that you need to fill up your self-love bucket. Do that, please. Focus on reframing your vision of yourself because that internal re-tooling will pay you dividends over and over. You have worth. You deserve to believe that.
If however, you’re feeling pretty solid about your value as a human and artist, and if you’d like to make positive changes, then open yourself to some high-frequency comparison. Look around at people you admire (you don’t need to start with the superstars, there are likely fabulous peeps right in your local orbit) and see what those you admire are doing. Is anyone living a life closer to the one you want to live? Is anyone making art that’s closer to the art you want to make? Is there anyone you can use as an example or model for whatever changes you want to make?
Re-orientating to high-frequency comparison has helped me enormously and in significant ways. It’s my go-to fixit. I think, “What would this person do right now? How would that person solve this problem/approach this mess/respond/decide/etc? What would the person-I-admire say right now?” And the ideas start flowing because people are doing MANY THINGS better than I am — good for them! —  and their examples teach me, inspire me, encourage me to try.
Ultimately, I’m still me being me, and I’ll do it my way, but I feel like I have more fuel in the tank. Because to be honest, in several areas of my life, I’ve run out of ideas. Over the last few decades, I solved problems ‘my own way’ and that didn’t work or the outcome was subpar. I have blindspots and tangles that I can’t work out. I’m ready for new ways of doing and being and I’m surrounded by inspirational people who are doing and being those things. It’s thrilling to see others thriving, living with integrity and purpose, aligning their inner compass and their outward actions, eating vegetables, and quitting nasty habits like biting their nails. I want to do that too.
Although low-frequency comparison flickers on the edge of my perception more frequently than I’d like, I have many wonderful high-frequency days when I compare myself to the Patti Smiths of the world and think, “Wow, I’m gonna infuse my life with a little of her creative bad-assery…..so…WWPD (what would Patti do)?”
WWYD (What would you do?)

Poll closes on Thursday at 5:03pm

Friends,

Take a break? Take a poll. Four questions, anonymous, helpful to 2018 planning. A quick and easy good deed for your day!

Artist Soapbox First Inaugural Four Quick Question Poll — here!

Creating a podcast is a little like talking into the void. The relationship can feel one-sided. I’m aiming for a genuine conversation; a feedback loop. I want the Artist Soapbox podcast to provide value to listeners. I want to give them what they want. I want to give you what you want to hear.

However….I can’t read minds. So, here’s an opportunity to give input that will help me plan for Artist Soapbox 2018 and get you what you want. I’m making plans for who to have on the show, how to shape the interview, and how to frame the way I talk about the behind the scenes of building and running a podcast.

This poll closes this Thursday at 5:03pm.

Want to give feedback in a different way? Send me an email at artistsoapbox@gmail.com.

P.S. I have 9 interviews scheduled between now and the end of this year. Gearing up! Getting excited!

P.P.S. Become a patron of Artist Soapbox on our Patreon page. As of today, we’re half-way to our first goal. Woot!

 

The launch

When I uploaded the first episode of Artist Soapbox on September 1, I didn’t know what to expect. Now, five weeks later, the podcast has built increasing momentum and has the potential to soar. With minimal advertising (some Facebook posting), Artist Soapbox already has 200 unique listeners which has translated to hundreds of downloaded episodes. I believe that number will climb with every new episode.

Up to this point, I have personally funded Artist Soapbox, which places a limit on whether this project can expand and even continue beyond the next few months. As a result, today I’m launching a campaign to support the Artist Soapbox via a Patreon page. (www.patreon.com/artistsoapbox) Supporters have the opportunity to become Soapboxers — official patrons of the podcast — and receive extra podcasty-related stuff. Visit the Patreon page to see a video of me talking about it, information about the rewards, and other compelling reasons to support this work.

I’m asking you to be a helper. If you are a reader of this blog, a listener of the podcast, or a friend of mine, would you please do these things to help?

  • Give: Contribute $1-$100 (!!!) per month via the Patreon page. The financial support will be put to good use, and most importantly, a higher number of patrons will encourage others to contribute. And you’ll get stuff too.
  • Share: Share widely and enthusiastically via all social media outlets, email, word of mouth, and any other way. It makes a huge difference for support to come from many sources.
  • Listen: Listen to the Artist Soapbox podcast episodes. Give me feedback so I can make each next one better and make your listening experience the most worthwhile it can be.

Thank you so much for your support.

Questions, concerns, encouragement? Email me at tamara_kissane@yahoo.com or artistsoapbox@gmail.com.

fireworks-public-domain-image

 

Teeth extraction, boot-strapping, social media-mania and other announcements

Announcements like bursts of confetti for you.

#1: [Not exactly an announcement — I just need tooth-courage STAT.] I gotta get my wisdom teeth removed in October, and I’m scared of the sedation. Cuz I like to control when I go unconscious, and I don’t like to wake up bloody. I’m not alone in that, right?

#2: There’s a Facebook page for Artist Soapbox podcast. It’s new. I’m telling you, I am soooo technically challenged. This podcast and it’s ancillary marketing needs have required me to jump in with both feet while holding my nose. Thrilling and terrifying. I’m cool with ‘just trying things to see what happens’ but these last few weeks have pushed me to my limit. I’m sure trying a lot of things — hope they work. Who’s a big imposter with Imposter Syndrome? Uhh….not me….? Would you like my page ….and stuff?

#3: Episode 003 of Artist Soapbox is up! John Jimerson is a wonderful conversation partner. (He even read me a story from the Velveteen Rabbit!) We went deep on a range of topics and had some goofy laughs too. Give it a listen and let me know what you think. Keep a lookout on the Facebook page and on the Artist Soapbox website to learn about new podcast episodes as soon as they are posted — I have lots of awesome interviews already scheduled thru the fall!

#4: On October 8, I’ll be launching a Patreon campaign for the Artist Soapbox podcast. I believe Artist Soapbox can add real value to our conversations with/around/in support of artists in the Triangle and help promote a thriving community. Right now I’m boot-strapping the heck out of this podcast, but I need support to take it to the next level. I’ve put together a bare bones preview site on Patreon, and I’d deeply appreciate feedback from you. I would be grateful if you’d take a look and share your thoughts about things like:

Do I really need to make a video to motivate people? Is the ‘about’ text confusing and not specific enough? Am I presenting this in a way that highlights its value? Are the rewards sufficient or would you like something else?

What would you like?

Better graphics? A different message?

Will anyone give a crap about this and if not, how can I make them? What else?

I’ve clearly buried the lead at the bottom of this post because I’m nervous about the Patreon campaign. I have big plans for this podcast and lots to share with our community. If you’ve read this far into the post, then I’m guessing that you and I are already partners in our desire to support local artists and (new!) podcasters. So thanks for ‘Getting on the Soapbox’ even before this campaign is launched! Love.

**If you don’t know what Patreon is, then this page will help.

Previous posts about the Artist Soapbox podcast:

Post #1

Post #2

 

Going solo: a bumpy ride

Welcome to my learning curve!

Ten days ago, I launched my first ever interview podcast via the Artist Soapbox. Today, I published my first solo podcast! WOOT. In the solo episode, I discuss three ways to support a creative process (based on my conversation with Mara Thomas in Episode 001) and I answer FAQs about Artist Soapbox. The episode clocks in at a lean 16 minutes and is clean for kids’ ears.

I’m reasonably happy with it, particularly since it’s my first effort. And I’m pleased by how far I’ve gone outside my comfort zone in putting this podcast together. However, to balance that happy pat-on-the-back, I’m including a ridiculous list of maybe-you-can-learn-from-my-mistakes. Because this sixteen minute podcast took me SIX hours to record and edit. Yep. And that doesn’t include time spent figuring out how to publish it online and write any accompanying text (like this blog post).

Now, I don’t have that much time to invest in something I’m only “reasonably happy with,” so I’ve been reflecting on what ate up so many hours. Answer = lack of adequate preparation and being a novice. Perhaps you can learn from these….

TIME SUCKS AND INEFFICIENCIES:

*I’m learning to edit using Garage Band on my Mac computer and it’s pretty straightforward….as long as you know what you’re doing. I would not recommend the learn-as-you-go approach that I took with Garage Band. If I could go back in time, I’d learn GB ahead of time and save myself a lot of frustrating moments, like when I deleted tracks accidentally, and recorded over sections that I liked, and messed things up in ways that I’m still unclear about. GB and I need to get up close and personal before the next podcasting.

*I also bought a really cool new microphone to use at home called the Blue Yeti. It’s an awesome plug-and-play mic and I feel all official using it. It also requires experimenting and refining which I didn’t do enough of ahead of time. When you listen to my solo in Episode 002, you’ll hear some of that experimenting happening during the episode which is not the best time to be fiddling around. I recorded in the kitchen during the day while my toddler napped and then went to my bedroom in the evening when the kids went to bed and then moved back down to the kitchen when my spouse went to sleep. Duh, the audio quality is different in my echo-y kitchen with glass table top compared to my bedroom where I was talking into a corner stuffed with pillows. You can hear the difference. Again, duh. Note: bedroom with pillow-corner was superior in audio-quality, but not as comfortable for me. Next time I’ll record in the same room during the entire process and keep a consistent distance from the microphone. Seriously, Tamara, pay attention to how far your face is from the microphone!

*You know what helps when you sit down to record a podcast? AN OUTLINE. And sometimes it helps even more to type out exactly word for word what to say. I know I have experience talking in front of groups, leading workshops, improvising, coaching folks and just enjoying a friendly one-on-one chat. I also have a lot to say about creativity and art-making and theatre and community and all the topics that Artist Soapbox will inevitably cover. However, I’m not sure why I was sooooooo positive that if I just thought about what I wanted to say beforehand, then I would open my mouth and the words would pour out fluidly and coherently. That did not happen. I wasted a lot of time doing re-takes until I finally sat down like an adult and made a darn outline with some key words and phrases. Right. I also practiced what I was going to say a few times because that HELPS. I swear, it was like Amateur Hour around here. In my defense, it was 1:00 am when I finished, and I’m usually only awake at that time if I’m giving birth….so it’s rare and I’m not at my best in the wee hours.

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Some of the podcast-y issues that cropped up were due to the fact that I’m a newbie, and some were issues that I should have anticipated and prepared for. Also, I’m not skilled enough with the editing software yet (see above) to fix my mistakes, so I must get everything right from the start.

Moving forward, I have a combination of recordings scheduled at Shadowbox Studio (with people who know what the hell they are doing) and at home (with a person who will eventually know what the hell she is doing). A home studio is really useful for odd-hours, solo recordings and managing schedule-craziness or conflicts.

The next several episodes will be interview style, and I’ll welcome the conversation with another person in the room. I originally thought my solo Episode 002 would be twenty minutes or longer, but I topped out at sixteen minutes and that felt like plenty for a first-go.

I hope you’ll keep listening. I hope you’ll learn from my mistakes and laugh along with me as I keep moving forward. I’m really excited about this new platform and having lots of fun with it. There’s much to learn about the art and science of podcasting, so I’m gonna keep plugging away.

I podcasted, and I liked it.

 

ARTIST SOAPBOX has been launched! Wheeee!

BIG NEW THING: I recorded a podcast, and I’m so excited that I couldn’t wait to share it. Seriously, I am SO excited. It took me an embarrassing number of hours to edit and put the first darn thing online, but I did it. It ain’t perfect, but that’s on me and my learning curve. More to come, more to come, more to come.

Me=tired. Good enough=Just fine

There’s still much to do with getting artwork, listing on iTunes, fixing the website, etc. but the link is online and it seems to work and it’s live. Anyhow, I’m getting there. I’m feeling grateful that there are so many incredible artists to converse with, and I can’t wait to do more. Special thanks to Greg Myer, Mara Thomas, and Jim Haverkamp for helping me launch.

Feel free to share if you’d like or just listen. There’s some good swearing, so it’s not for the kids.

EPISODE 001: Mara Thomas says Yes to Nothing

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ALSO:

So I didn’t:

I haven’t written Mother of the Year yet. And I still have some other projects that I didn’t wrap up. I’ll just say, almost everything is still pending.

So I did:

I did write another play in the meantime.

Onwards!