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The Your Ladders Blog

There are a lot of things to think about when you're navigating a performing arts path. These blog topics will help.

GRATITUDE

On Thursday, here in the United States, we celebrate Thanksgiving. In this blog post I want to focus on the gift of gratitude.

I understand that the path of being an artist can be, and often is, very difficult. Burn out is real. Making a living is difficult and requires a lot of juggling. Disappointment can be part of the journey. All of this is true, and are issues I talk about in other blog posts, and in my classes.

But today I am going to encourage you to stop, take out a piece of paper, and grab a pen. Ready? Now write down numbers from 1-25 along the side of the paper. Beside each number write down something you are grateful for.

This could take five minutes, or three days. The list could include profound items, or an acknowledgement of your favorite hot beverage.

Now, look at your list through your artist’s lens. How many things on the list reflect your artistic life? I’m hoping at least half of them. If not, can you revisit the list with that intention? Can you...

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SKILL BUILDING IN THE ARTS

Opening Your Ladders has required me to learn a lot of new skills, and that’s been thrilling. It’s also required me to rethink a lot of strategies. Again, thrilling. Scary and exhausting, but thrilling.

In my writing life (I write crime fiction), I remember sitting next to a well published author at a character workshop. I mentioned that I was surprised to see her there. She told me that she always sat in on workshops, and in doing so she always picked up a new idea. It helped keep her fresh. A light bulb went off.

As a performing artist, I want to encourage you to continue to build your skills no matter where you are on your career path. If you’re interested in building skills towards producing your own work, or you want to ground your career with some business planning, then Your Ladders has been created for you. Look at the Footing Your Ladder course--it provides the planning skills you’ll need.

What other skills can you develop? If you’re a singer,...

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Intro to #5ArtsThoughts series!

I've decided to start a series of videos I'm calling #5ArtsThoughts. Here's a intro video to the series. Feel free to subscribe to them on YouTube, or check back on the blog. I'll be posting them here as well.

 

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NEVER STOP LEARNING

One of the hardest lessons for me to learn in my life is that you’re never done learning. Actually, the hardest part is that I need to accept that’s part of the process. I am a fiction writer, and every time I sit down to start a book I’m convinced I won’t be able to do it. Every first draft is terrible. But editing and polish, plus a lot of practice, teaches me that at some point the book will be ready for readers.

As performing artists you understand that you have to practice your craft in order for it to remain fresh. You also have to take classes and learn new techniques in order to continue to grow. As your craft matures you need to acquire new skills. Some of them are to add depth to your work. Others are to adjust to a new phase in your career.

When you feel stuck as an artist, one of the best ways to reboot is to learn new skills. They can include business skills to help you produce your own work, or take better control of your career. They could also...

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THE ARTIST AS ENTREPRENEUR

I’ve been working in the arts for over thirty years and I’m really excited about a new trend I’m noticing around the way folks are producing their own work, Now, in some disciplines that’s always been the case. But in the performing arts, particularly theater, folks have felt the need to create a  company then create a season then produce their work. There have been exceptions, of course. Commercial theater has a lot of solo producers. But in the non-profit and community realm, starting a company has been the first step for most folks by rote. Or folks aspire to start a company. That’s changing.

I’m seeing two trends in this. First, a lot of the folks diving into this are working in the small/fringe scale. For these artists, starting a company and planning a season can be a resource drain. These groups are usually under-funded, and most folks participating are working several jobs to make it all work. Trying to produce two or three shows a...

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