Tip: Write The Press Release First
I was in a meeting at the day job today when one of the marketing folks mentioned an awesome, mind-exploding idea that fits perfectly with setting music career goals: write a press release, then work backwards.
The idea is to sit down and write the ideal make-believe press release for your project. It's a powerful, imaginative twist on simply writing down your goals and defining success on your own terms.
Imagine for a moment that your work is done -- your CD is ready for release, your indie label is ready to launch, or that big show you've been planning for months is just around the corner. What is it about your project that you want people to know? What is unusual or newsworthy about your event? What are the benefits of attending your event or purchasing your CD? Write these down in the form of a press release, or even a feature story to be run in the local paper.
Writing a press release now helps you crystallize the successful, desired outcome in your mind by describing the end result in a favorable light. You'll know what success looks like, because you've just written down how it will look to others. Never mind that you're not going to actually send this release to anyone -- this is a tool to help you focus on the prize.
Once you're happy with the release, work backwards. What do you need to do in order to make what you've described a reality? Once you've gotten it down on paper, it should be easier to sift out the essential steps from the time-wasters.
Besides, it's a LOT more fun this way. "I will play and sell out a 300-seat venue in my hometown" doesn't have quite the same, inspirational vibrancy as, say, "Folk-Rock Artist Scott Andrew To Headline Triple Door With Full Band And Surprise Guests" does it?