Our business is regularly feast or famine. Sometimes you sit in one over the other for awhile; sometimes you switch back and forth "regularly". There are no rules here.
Since the time of famine seems to be more prevalent, unfortunately, let's start there. What are you doing during this time? How have you prepared for it? Or, has it side-swiped you completely?
No matter where you are in this process, there is hope. I don't say that because I am a Pollyanna, far from it, I say it, because it's true if you get to the crux of your MINDSET.
How do you speak to yourself, and with yourself? What voices do you let resonate and why? Are you wallowing, waxing unpoetic, wishing, wailing, what? Are you asking why but not really putting in the leg work to change to why not? Are you creating a self-sabotage situation before you even get started?
Listen, there are going to be dry spells. DEFINING them for yourself through how you view them, and then what you do with them, is crucial.
I am going to go all radical on you right now, with this possibility: what if the dry spell is actually an opportunity?!?!
An opportunity for what?!?! Carbs and Netflix?!?!?
Well, sometimes we need that too.
What if the dry spell gives you permission to PREPARE.
The number of times in my 30 + year teaching career that I have seen singer/actors simply not use the dry spells as an opportunity to prepare is astounding. Sadly, I see them miss
Why not change the "why am I not booking?" to "what if I did or could book?" What would that look like?
Mindset is everything. Mindset will either drop you deeper into despair, delusion or carbs (sorry, couldn't find a "d" word for that one), or mindset will change your focus, pull you up, and keep out of the cheese dip.
So, have your carbs, have a good cry, get angry, get sad, feel all the feelings, and then let's get to working on YOU.
Okay. So, if I am not currently booked/currently booking - what can I do to prepare to BE working?
What can you DO to even more prepared?
So often, we are so focused on auditioning, we forget we need stamina for the role when we book! This is stamina vocally, physically, emotionally.
If you've learned the 16/32 bar cut - now learn the entire song.
If you've learned the aria, now learn the full role.
Have you invested in your voice lessons/coachings fully so you know you are revealing your best self when you walk into the room?
Have you niched yourself too much? Is there more you could be seen for, that you just hadn't realized? Are you using your strengths as a crutch, or are you embracing them fully?
Are all the cuts and arias and songs in your book ready to go? Could you sing ANYTHING in that book on an hour's notice? Do you love everything in it? Does it feel fresh? Is it time to change some things?
How are your other skills? Is there something you could focus on to get stronger in? Your dancing, your acting, your movement? What about sight reading? theory? maybe starting another instrument that could strengthen your musicianship and probably give you a good stress release? You don't have to be an expert in another skill, but having them only enhances what you already DO.
How's your health? Are you eating well? Are you working out? Do you have a regular sport you participate in, or wish you did and haven't had time?
If you allow your MINDSET to give you permission to explore during the dry spells, it will keep you prepared for the times when you are simply too busy to focus on anything more.
How many times has that voice said "if I had only taken advantage of that time to do xyz, I could have been ready for abc."
So, utilize that dry spell. It suddenly isn't a dry spell. It's simply an opportunity to grow and prepare and learn and develop.
What about the business? Theatre people: Do you have your little black book of casting directors? Have you been in front of them recently? Who needs to see you? Do you know what they need to see FROM you? Would they know you if you walked into the room?
Opera people: do you know who is running/directing/producing in the houses and companies you might be seen in? Do you know their seasons? Are you in contact with someone there to know when they might audition/need replacements/might be doing a master class you could participate in or attend?
Do you take industry classes?
Are you following up?
What's your website looking like?
Do you have fresh MEDIA up there?
Are you creating your own creative spaces & projects or are you always waiting for someone else to do it for you?
What about a concert or recital? What about a collaboration? What about inviting some people over for a read-through of a musical or play? Or a singing soiree just to be together and sing?
Have you got a mindfulness practice? Is it time to explore that, in order to help you stay focused, out of your head where the voices lure you? Do you meditate, journal, have a therapist?
Are you taking advantage of a dry spell to explore another interest? learning a new language? taking a cooking class? committing to a bootcamp for fitness? committing to read those books that have been sitting on your bedside table for months?
And, what about just taking a breath and committing to going to theatre, museums, art galleries to be inspired, more regularly?
And, what if you, oh, I don't know, just said "I'm stepping away". What if you decided you just needed a break, and lived your life, and did your side hustle, and spent time with friends, and brunched, and laughed, and didn't chase, and didn't feel the "have to" and just breathed and lived for a minute.
I have a secret: lean in....because, guess what? theatre isn't going anywhere. The business isn't going anywhere. When you re-enter, it's still gonna be there. The business will either make a place for you, or you will make a place for yourself.
The possibilities during a dry spell are ENDLESS. Maybe we need to change the language. The language of feast or famine suggests it can only be one or the other. I have seen a lot of people working who are exhausted and depleted too.
So, how do you start?
Start with your mindset. How are you speaking to yourself? How are you approaching your life, your craft, your art, your voice, your talent? How are you approaching your day, your week your month?
Instead of "why am I not..." today could be the day you say " I choose to..."
Life is about choices. How we approach or dismiss that choice is up to us.
Feast or famine? How about "Claim & Prioritize", instead?
See how the MINDSET shifts can change how you approach anything and everything, one at a time...
How will you change "feast or famine" to what makes sense to your mindset? Share with me your phrase in the comments below or message me! Claim that mindset for change.
Susan Eichhorn Young covers all things voice—strong and sophisticated singing and speaking.
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