I’ve never been very adept at the business side of things. No doubt this comes partly from my upbringing—though my background is relatively privileged, my parents are neither numerically inclined (there was no hope for math homework help past about grade 4) or particularly capitalistic, either in their beliefs or in their actions (a distinction to be elucidated below).
Then there was my coming of age in the punk/DIY scene, which seared onto my mind the idea that taking money into consideration as part of musical endeavours was deeply morally wrong. Most of my peers soon abandoned this ethic, and I would later discover that people with the most stridently anti-capitalistic views in public are invariably the most ruthless when it comes down to negotiations over money behind closed doors, but by then it was too late for me to shake the ideological imprint.
As a young man, to the extent that I thought about the future at all (which was not very much), I just kind of assumed that an artistic career would arise out of my talents and ideas. This seems shockingly naïve in retrospect. I remember in my first year of university, I had a creative writing prof who declared that for a writer’s career, going to the right parties was just as important as developing your craft. Puffed up with the deadly post-adolescent combination of arrogance and naïveté, I waved away his advice without a thought. Looking back today his statement still seems obnoxious, but undeniably true.
It seems obvious to me now that success (however you define it) in any creative field has very little to do with talent and everything to do with good timing, persistence, schmoozing skills and extreme will power. For a chronic procrastinator with an acute allergy to bullshit and a tendency to get discouraged easily, it is not very self-evident to embark on this route.
To be continued.