I briefly mentioned last week about how I’ve had success juggling creative pursuits between my work and family lives. This can be a very difficult thing to do, and takes a lot of discipline – I still struggle with this regularly. I hope you find this post inspiring, but also providing real practical advice.
At the time of writing, I work an 8:30-5:30 Monday-Friday office job. On top of that I am very actively planning my wedding in October, while still making the time to spend with Jewel doing non-wedding activities. Between work and home commitments, there is very little time for creative pursuits; if I wasn’t careful, it would all slip away!
One of the most important things you can do to be productive, is to have family support. This stems from being open and communicative about what your goals are, and what time you will need to accomplish them.
Work with your family to block out time for yourself, so they may respect you and give you the space you need.
Without communicating this, interruptions may happen more frequently, as the importance may not be understood. I am very fortunate to be marrying someone who is a creative herself, so it’s easy for her to understand when I need to work on something. We both work to block out time to spend with each other, while also blocking out time to spend doing our own separate projects. Everybody’s family situation is different, but communication is key.
As for finding the time, there is no such thing as ‘finding the time’. We are experts at filling up every last ounce of our days with ‘stuff’. Instead of ‘finding the time’, we need to ‘make the time’.
‘Finding the time’ is looking for a gap in our day to fill with creative work, while ‘making the time’ is taking an active role to create those gaps!
Unfortunately this often requires making some serious sacrifices! To note: this does not include sleep; losing sleep will only hurt your productivity in the end, and you’ll eventually end up playing catch up anyway, therefore not gaining any extra time. The only exception to that is if you have a deadline to meet, and you have time blocked out afterwards to catch up. There is no excuse to miss sleep regularly.
So what can you sacrifice? The first thing is time wasters, the things that absolutely don’t matter. Some things include: endlessly scrolling through social media news feeds, browsing Reddit, watching TV/Netflix, playing games that have no clear goal in mind, and I’m sure you know your own personal one that I did not mention. And I’m not saying you can’t watch some TV, or play some games, but make sure you put a limit on how much time you put towards them. I am saying you can’t scroll through your Facebook newsfeed, no good ever comes from that.
Now for the big one – you may need to sacrifice you friends (not Aztec style though.) This is a hard thing for a lot (most?) people to do. If you find yourself hanging out every night, or often going to parties and events on the weekends – this will eat up precious time. I’m not telling you to give up all your friends, just the frequency at which you spend with them. This often involves saying ‘no’ to things you want to do, and events you would love to attend. Some of your friends may get angry with you; you may even lose a few. But if you are clear about why you need to spend less time, and they are still angry – it is clear they don’t respect you or your art, and sadly they may not be worth your time.
As you grow up, you’ll need to make choices on what is important to you -love/family, friends, money, or your creative pursuits. It is rare to have time for all of these. I want to leave you with a poem “You Want a Social Life, with Friends” by Kenneth Koch.
“You want a social life, with friends.
A passionate love life and as well
To work hard every day. What’s true
Is of these three you may have two
And two can pay you dividends
But never may have three.
There isn’t time enough, my friends–
Though dawn begins, yet midnight ends–
To find the time to have love, work, and friends.
Michelangelo had feeling
For Vittoria and the Ceiling
But did he go to parties at day’s end?
Homer nightly went to banquets
Wrote all day but had no lockets
Bright with pictures of his Girl.
I know one who loves and parties
And has done so since his thirties
But writes hardly anything at all.”
Until next time, enjoy life and keep creating!
Thanks for reading!
I’ve been bursting with creative energy as of late, so where to begin?
First off, the MikePouch.com blog is being restructured with a more defined focus. The purpose will be to explore the creative process. I have a lot of passion for music, art, illustration, design, theatre, film, dance, etc… of course with the finished work, but also what it takes to get there. I will be exploring many avenues of creativity, through my own projects, interviews with other creatives, occasional tutorials, as well as sharing videos, blogs, and podcasts that have inspired me. With the content I provide, I hope to inspire the creators in us all!
There will also be occasional news and announcements (like today!) So besides the blog update, what else is going on?
I just finished illustrating a 10-page comic book! My local comic book shop, “Uncanny” (formerly “Comics and More”), at the King of Prussia mall, is in the early stages of self-publishing their own works! Their first release is ‘Five Deals, One Devil,’ a collection of stories about people making deals with the devil. I contributed to “A First Time For Everything” written by Benton Freight; a story about how a Neanderthal meets face to face with the ‘big man downstairs’. I never realized how much work is involved with illustrating a comic, but enjoyed every last bit of it (besides flatting, maybe!), and I’m thrilled with the results! I plan on doing a blog series showing each step of the process, from thumbnails, to research, to designs, to penciling, inking, flatting, coloring, and lettering! I will also keep you posted about when this goes to print, of course!
On the music front, big announcement coming soon about the too-long-on-the-backburner Five Years EP! Stay tuned!
And lastly, I’m getting married in 51 days to a lovely (and absolutely incredibly creative) fiancee, Jewel. I’ve surprised myself that I was able to finish illustrating a comic, write and record a lot of music, while working a 40+ hour job and being fully involved in our wedding planning! Between Jewel and I, there is a lot of design and craft going into the wedding, which I will be happy to share with you!
Until next time, enjoy life and keep creating!
Thanks for reading!
I have just posted another 8-bit track! This is an older one… but I think the quality still mostly holds up.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about these 8-bit tracks though:
First, there’s a reason my Halo 8-bit is at almost 50,000 views and growing at a rapid rate (I get a few comments daily), and my Mario 64 and Sonic 8 bit tracks aren’t even breaking 300. This could be for a few reasons, but I think the main thing is that making retro versions of games that are already semi-retro isn’t extreme or cool enough for people to search. They just don’t stand out. As well, a Nintendo version of Halo just seems strange because the franchise didn’t exist in the 80s/90s. Also, having a picture/animation probably helps a bit too! So… I need to find better games/movie soundtracks/songs to do 8 bit covers of (any suggestions?!)! As well, I should include some kind of 8-bit artwork!
Second, this is more for the blog, but I am going to stop doing a big ‘making of’ for each track. I’ve said most of my techniques, so I don’t want to repeat myself too much. In addition, I’m sure most of my readers don’t make 8 bit music, so the blog will mostly go unread or be uninteresting. Although, I think I will, at some point, do a series all about making 8-bit music that covers all the main techniques with included examples.
So with all that being said, I do have a few more ‘older’ tracks to post over the next few months. I have 8-bit versions of one more Mario 64 song, one more Sonic, a Zelda Wind Waker track, and the Professor Layton puzzle music. I also want to release some ‘Originals’ too! As well, I still have at least five Nintendo versions to post next month to celebrate the 20th anniversary of something! Should be awesome and might develop into a whole twelve song album release! Details on that next month!!!
Ok, here’s the track – Mario 64 – Koopa’s Road 8 bit:
(Originally posted on Blogspot on Thursday, June 2, 2011)
Alright, this is a little bit late (sorry, sorry, sorry!) but not without reason. My music computer, while being ‘fixed’ is still having issues. It starts up, and is able to run – but after a short period of time, it starts to beep and then restarts. I’ve taken the files I need off of my music comp and installed most of the programs I need onto my laptop, so now I can do some work (like release this mix!) This also means I’ll be able to finish my album… thank God.
Anyhoo – the mix! Here is the story behind it:
“Earlier  Imogen Heap took time off from writing her album to write a song for the credits of a TV show. She wrote and recorded the vocals, leaving the music to be written by the composer who was writing the score. For some reason the song was not used in the end leaving the vocals music-less. Imogen Heap decided to donate the vocal tracks to the world to do with whatever they wanted.
I, of course, being a huge fan and a musician who loves doing different mixes of things, could not resist. I ended up doing a few different versions, while DJ Pere Fouettard handled a dance mix. I whipped up a nice little booklet and put together this little free EP for you to enjoy. Sooooo… Enjoy!”
You can download said EP at http://www.mikepouch.com/imogenheap.html and listen to the ‘Main Mix’ right here:
(Oh – and I’ll try to post some more 8-Bit mixes soon! I have a few nice ones I haven’t released yet…)
(Originally posted on Blogspot on Monday, May 23, 2011)
Yes! It only took three weeks – but my music computer is back up and running! I’ve been busy with work and whatnot, so it took a little longer than intended. (A HUGE thanks goes to Mr. Austin for fixing it!) So yeah… back to making music!
This leads me to my next point: Remixes. While I was planning on releasing one remix a month – I’m realizing that this is resulting in them being a bit rushed. I think it’s important to put quality over quantity, so I’ve decided I’ll release them on a less scheduled basis, and moreso when I simply finish them. I’m still planning on releasing 4-6 of these a year, though. This is partially because my efforts are spread among quite a few projects (let alone, working to pay my bills and simply living life.)
Speaking of projects – my solo album “Five Years EP” is very near to completion! Now that my music computer has returned – I can get back to work! I just need to rerecord vocals and do some final mixing touch ups! I’m very excited about this… although it will be a little while until it is released (I need to promote it and whatnot).
In addition to my album being finished, I am planning on doing some open mics and then some shows this summer! As well, I am currently working on a music video involving sticky notes. More details to come on all that!
One last bit of good news: my Facebook music page has just claimed the name ‘www.Facebook.com/MikePouch’! Hopefully this will rid the other Mike Pouch whose facebook page I helped jump up on the Google search results. Fingers crossed!
Thanks for reading!
(By the way – Imogen Heap remix coming by the end of the week! I promise!)