The First Two Weeks: A Tally

Since my last day at the corporate gig on July 15, here’s the tally of what I’ve gotten done, working Sunday through Thursday and a little on Saturdays.

  • drafted 2 light orchestral pieces and sent them to a collaborator, who will complete them and submit them for consideration for a reality-TV show (as I write this, it’s Thursday, July 28th, and I might crank out a third later today or possibly Saturday – yeah, that’s cheating! – to cap the week)

    A picture of my new office.

    My new office, complete with love notes and funny pictures thanks to Karen.

  • composed/produced 5 of what I’d call “upbeat light pop/rock” instrumentals and sent them to the requesting music library
  • drafted 1 theme for a local documentary film; the director likes it
  • created 32 alternate versions of approved pieces (9 pieces x 4 alts each). Alternate versions of a piece are basically useful variations on it, for example, without the melody instrument, just the rhythm section, and so on. They’re time-consuming but necessary.
  • completed lesson plans for 3 class meetings of the new course I’ll be teaching in the Fall
  • edited or proofed 13,301 words through an online editing service, for earnings of… wait for it… $163.29
  • received payment for a very quick-turn theater sound design – $150 – and discussed future engagements with the playwright/director
  • began researching how best to sell the soundtrack of the indie feature film Warrior Woman
  • wrote and posted a few blog bits (I like to call them bloggins), including this one at smaCK! (my music tech blog)
  • met with an SEO expert who also happens to be a musician, about helping her organize and structure a book
  • met with an attorney regarding whether to form an LLC for my publishing company, Smudge Creative Publishing
  • met with the fabulous owner of a very cool green business about her need for a good editor; she promised a contract in a few weeks
  • pestered the contracting officer at my former job about getting things in place so that I can contract with them occasionally; haven’t heard back after two pesterings in two weeks.

Clearly there’s not a lot of money being made at the moment. But there is a lot of potential, a lot of little pieces of me getting out into the universe. The production-music thing is a numbers game. The more music – let’s qualify that as “good music” – I have out there, the better my chances that something of mine will be used and create some income, and possibly some momentum.

Also, this doesn’t quite satisfy my target of a completed piece per workday, but it comes darned close, and the alternative activities were just as important. Building genuinely excellent, positive relationships will be key.

What Have I Learned So Far?

Well, for starters, the freelance editing gig takes a bunch of time (for me, right now) for not very much money. I also have to time it very carefully; for example, I can’t take a 7,000-word job in the morning if I definitely need to start composing by lunchtime. Not right now, anyway. Maybe I’ll build speed, but for now, as a new contractor with them, I’m very focused on ensuring top quality at the expense of time and therefore $/hr. And that’s OK. They’re a good company, and I believe in their value to their clients as well as to their editors. It’s just a matter of learning the ropes and building confidence and speed. Oh, and memorizing a few new style guides.

Second, and more positive, is that in all of these ventures I learn something every day. I learned specific music-production skills on Tuesday that I applied again on Wednesday; I learned about some new editor resources; I learned some small-business law (I’ll forget that, most likely…LOL); and I was definitely inspired by the people with whom I met.

I had some pretty severe anxiety on Day 2, but I got through it by doing the main thing I know how to do: work my butt off. I expect these little attacks to crop up occasionally; any healthy, smart person would be a little scared right now.

It’s cool (she says on the outside…).

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About CK Barlow

I'm a composer and music-technology instructor. In the summer of 2011, I decided it was time to give full-time music-making a shot, so I left my corporate job (I've always had one). That's part of what inspired Composing Kitchen, the blog I publish with my incredible spouse, Karen Milling. View all posts by CK Barlow

3 responses to “The First Two Weeks: A Tally

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