Hey guys, today I wanted to talk about something more personal: why I’m *not* a typical composer or songwriter that works 10 hours a day in a studio to produce, produce, produce. How I started to think my own thoughts and making my own decisions, based on what I love to do and not on what you’re supposed to according to societal norms. How I radically changed my view on “making a living” after a burnout. And of course there’ll be some takeaway for you! 🙂
How it all began
During high school, you are pushed to think about what you want to do with your life. How do you want to earn your money? What are your talents? As a teenager, I discovered I loved writing music, and when I discovered you could actually study composition I could make my choice very quickly!
I was raised as a good kid that learned to value your talents and do something with them. It was only logical to go to college, graduate and become independent from my parents. The West European levels of feminism, emancipation and equality made it all a no-brainer: everyone goes to college after high school, everyone is raised to get a job and make money him- or herself.
So, naturally, I wanted to become a musician that earned her money making music. Not a performing artist, because everyone downloads all the songs illegally. No money there. I learned that very quickly. Because my teachers at the time were all over the growing gaming scene, I wanted to become a composer of applied music: in films, games, multimedia artwork.
But, as you can obviously see – that didn’t work out. Something else did, though!
After 7 years of studying, I finally graduated as a composer. Because I wanted to learn something more than just making music, I became a member the board of my student association as the secretary during my last year at college. Half a year after graduating I got a burnout. Looking back, I was using up my last reserves and dragging myself through life for the last 3 years. At least.
Firstly, I only got treated by a psychosomatic physiotherapist: she helped me to relax, so all the muscle and joint pain caused by the built up stress would go away. We hoped that my tiredness would disappear with the pain. In summer, I enjoyed a hiking trip to Norway. It seemed like everything was okay. Until it hit me again in October. I got those chronic fatigue-like symptoms all over again: I couldn’t think or concentrate, I could only do small, mindless tasks and chores and even a short trip to buy some lunch would result in major tiredness and the need to take a long nap.
i identified myself as a spooniepreneur: someone with very limited energy due to a chronic condition (in my case a burnout), that still wanted to put a part of that energy in creating a successful business.
Who am I?
Because of the perseverance of my fatigue and absence of physical failure, the doctor sent me to the psychologist. We discovered that burnout is often caused in people with ADHD and/or autism because of overstimulation. Where normal people automatically and subconsciously filter all stimuli as important or not important, people with a sensory processing disorder don’t have that filter, so they have to consciously deal with every stimulus that enters the brain, which takes up a lot of energy.
This meant I had to drastically alter my lifestyle and the way I work, to make sure I could function as a normal human being in this increasingly hectic, stressful, noisy and busy society. I started to ask myself a lot of questions:
What really helped me were some American entrepreneurship bloggers, in particular Melyssa Griffin and Regina Anaejionu. They showed me there are lots of new possibilities in this digital era – I didn’t have to settle for some traditional way of making a living that didn’t suit my situation.
To realize that – and to draft plans on how to make digital entrepreneurship work for me – was incredibly uplifting.
Create the best working conditions for YOU
I won’t bore the hell out of you with all the answers to the questions above. But I can tell you from experience, that when you answer these questions for yourself – and then I mean answering them completely honest, no holding back – it is a great step to creating the best working conditions in which you will definitely thrive.
You just need to have the guts to do these three things:
We live in a world where traditional ways of working and living get less and less important, especially in the creative sector. With the coming of the internet, you have tons of new possibilities to make a living in a way that suits YOU. I’ve listed a few already some times ago:
Or you can check out my epic free ebook: