Sometimes I wonder if I should take the advice of those people (coaches, gurus, strangers, etc.) that recommend "niching down." They say you should specialize in something and become an expert at that thing.
I'm not really an expert at anything.
But I don't hate that! And there are a few things that I seem to be working toward becoming an expert on (albeit slowly), because they are just so interesting to me and I've enjoyed learning more about them.
I like to keep this idea in my head that life is actually really long, and we get to have lots of chapters along the way. This mentality makes it easy for me to stay creative and unafraid of reinventing myself or changing my style. It's also made it easier to allow myself to focus more on one thing for a season or two, before I move on to the next big thing. Looking for balance over a whole lifetime seems better than striving for balance on a daily basis. After all, if you don't try something new, how will you ever know if you love it or not? Or maybe you have some sort of natural talent... How would you ever find out unless you tried it?
So anyway, this has led me to becoming pretty darn good at singing, songwriting, collaborating, marketing, website and image design, coming up with product and business ideas, registering music to collect royalties, narrating /voice acting for audiobooks, recording, editing, mixing, mastering, performing, playing guitar and ukulele, composing, writing lyrics for briefs or custom song requests, teaching or coaching, public speaking, managing social media accounts.... but I'm not necessarily an expert at any of those things. It's like a million very part-time jobs!
It also sometimes makes it hard to explain what I "do" since I do so many different things, and my answer can drastically change depending on the project I'm currently working on and the things I got hired for that week. This idea of an inconsistent schedule and inconsistent pay scares most people. I probably should have clarified, too, that much of what I'm describing here is outside of my own "Katie Dwyer" artist projects. This is my work-for-hire life that I'm describing.
Most artists like me have a regular day job, and they do their artist thing on the side. I would say as far as money is concerned, I make more working for other artists and producers than I do pursuing my own artist career, but I am still really happy with where I'm at. I'm in a place where my "million part-time day jobs" assist me in becoming a better indie artist. Every time I get hired to tune someone's vocals or edit and mix their songs or arrange and record backing vocals for them, it's not only paying for all my kids' school lunches, dance, music, and ninja classes (kids are expensive), its valuable practice for when I'm working on my own music. It's making me more efficient as a self-producing artist.
Honestly, I used to feel SO BAD about these aspects of my personality. I felt like I was not a good, responsible "grown up" unless I was following a strict routine and had a "real" full-time day job with benefits. And since I'm a mother, I had this idea in my head that I wasn't a "good mom" unless my children were also provided a rigid structured routine as well.
I've since learned that having a looser routine is pretty normal for people like me, who are naturally spontaneous and thrive in new experiences. I've also learned that there are huge benefits to allowing kids to get bored (boredom is what happens right before creativity!) and that their routines are more enjoyable for all of us if they are the ones choosing what they want to focus on throughout the current season they're in. A rigid structured routine where all activities have instructions and are heavily supervised leads to kids that don't get a lot of experience decision making and creative problem solving, which are great skills to have as young adults.
I'm not meant to eat the same breakfast every day at the same time in the same place. I'm not meant to have a super structured daily routine. I'm not meant focus on only one aspect of the audio world for the rest of my life and become the biggest expert on it. And when I go against my own nature, try to listen to the "niche down and become an expert" gurus, attempting to force myself to be more like this made-up idea in my head of what a responsible adult is, one way or another, I always seem to suffer for it.
All this to say -- I'm really glad that I've been able to shift my thinking in this department and start liking myself the way I naturally am. Maybe I am a part-time everything, and maybe most people wouldn't thrive in this lifestyle, but who's to say that that's wrong for me?
Maybe some people are meant to be wild and creative part-time everythings.