Rachel Schain

Week #1 - Getting Mentally Prepared. #MSI9W3

Posted by: Rachel Schain on Monday, October 18, 2010 at 10:38:32 pm

This blog entry is going to look like a repeat, and I apologize in advance.  The reason is that I had to start over again to fit the next wave of Ariel's challenge, having been derailed after Week 6.  But I have updated the blog to fit my current situation, and will be re-using past blogs and updating them accordingly in the weeks to come.

I am so far behind everyone else, but here goes.  Week 1 of Ariel Publicity's Music Success in Nine Weeks Blogging Challenge!

For the next several weeks, I'm going to study being a better businesswoman when it comes to my music.  Honestly, it couldn't have come at a better time.  I just put out my first EP, and I've actually got to buckle down and do this for serious because there are more things at stake than my pride and dreams for a change.  I didn't realize how scary this would be, to be honest.  I mean, I'm running a Business now (caps intentional). 

For my course notebook, I've chosen the blank book I got from my friend Sam as a bridesmaid gift.  The first page is a letter of love and encouragement, and I can't think of anything more valuable.  The successes of the past week include booking shows in Atlantic City and New York and getting started on booking a Boston show.  Also, I've been forcing myself to practice with a pick.  It's time I start pushing forward.

In the interest of full disclosure, I'll tell you all that at the beginning of this year, I started this course and never made it past week 2.  Then I attempted this challenge during wave 2, but was derailed after week 6.  The good news is that I discovered that I was able to meet some of the goals I set for myself back then, some even within the time limits I set for them.  So that's good.  Time for some new goals.

Short Term Goals (things to accomplish during this course):

1. Develop a more polished pitch - this is where I stumbled last time.  I had this great idea for a pitch, and then I put it online and it was called "polite and boring."  That flustered me, and while I honestly have been trying to think of a better way of describing myself as an artist I just haven't gotten it yet. (By the end of Week 2, obviously)

2. Book a few shows out of town  - I've been talking about wanting to do this for a few months now, but I really need to actually do it.  I have a lot of fans in the NY/NJ/CT/MA area, and in the Rochester, NY area as well, who have been asking for a show so I want to play for them.  Then there's my college town of Binghamton, NY, where I still have friends/listeners and where the college station has a copy of my EP.  Finally, DC/Baltimore (or Bal-Wash, haha) would be fantastic.  I met some amazing people at the FMC Policy Summit who are helping in this regard.  (By November 18)

3. Get my music reviewed/add some press to my profile - When I first saw Ariel speak at the FMC Summit last Fall, she said "Make sure you're part of the conversation about you, and if there isn't one, get one started."  That line really stuck with me.  I would love for there to be a conversation about me and my music!  So yeah, let's get one started. (By November 30)

4. Develop better habits when it comes to communicating with my fanbase - I think I'm still too passive about talking to my fans.  I don't regularly send out emails, I am sending out tons of Facebook event invites that get little to no result, and I'm still thinking in terms of quick broadcast messages as opposed to structured ones.  Plus I definitely have the "oh I don't want to bother people" mentality.  (By December 18)

Long(er) Term Goals (next 4-6 months):

1. Write the rest of my next album - There are two songs that I play out regularly that aren't on my EP, and everyone's bugging me about them.  Sorry guys, I couldn't get them recorded in time for this release, they're going on the next one.  In order for there to be a next one, I need 4-6 more songs written.  I've got all these ideas that need to be fleshed out anyway.

2.  Get enough money together to record that next album and give the people who helped me on this one some - I got really lucky on this last EP and had some friends who were willing to do some work for free, but I feel like it put a strain on things that didn't have to be there.  So I want to do everything as a paying customer next time around, and hopefully I can make that happen.

3.  Get my life more organized - I'm not living in squalor or anything but I think it's fair to say that my maid has had the last few months off, if you get my drift, and what they say is true; cluttered surroundings make for a cluttered creative process.  I mean, just sitting down to write this blog entry I was sidetracked by half a dozen things that made me say "oh I'll just do x" and now it's almost 1 am.  If I'm caught up on all the other ridiculous stuff, I'll have less to distract me.  Plus working a day job AND doing the musician thing cannot be made easier by the fact that I can never find anything and often times I'm running around 5 minutes before I need to leave trying to find a shirt to wear.

Long Term Goals (in the next year):

1. Figure out "Step 2" - You know that bit in South Park with the Underpants Gnomes?  "Step 1: Collect Underpants, Step 2: Shrugs, Step 3: Biiiig Profit!"  Well, those words have been on my mind a lot lately, except my step 1 was "record a CD and start being serious about my music."  I'm not so naive as to think it's only 3 steps, that's just for comedic effect.  Last year at the FMC Summit I was totally overwhelmed by all the "Step 2" information I got, and only really picked up a few things.  I put most of those things to work, though, in the last year, and so now I've got to get more pieces into place.  Luckily at this year's summit, I picked up several more missing pieces.

2. Drop some weight - This is as much about health as it is for self-esteem.  I recently turned 30 and I think my body is starting to tell me that it's not going to be able to deal with this extra weight as well as it used to.  If I'm going to be touring more in the next year, well then I'd better get my health improved.

3.  You know, World Domination and all that. ;-)

OK, Week 2 in the next few days.  I'm feeling good, people.


Go, Rachel, Go! World domination couldn't be far away! Carla (one of Ariel's judges)
Posted by: Carla Lynne Hall on October 22, 2010 at 10:30:16 pm

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