Whether you’ve just finished your first contract or are on your twelfth, the time in between jobs is always difficult to manage for performers. You’re suddenly back in the audition rat race, looking for new ways to earn money while trying to keep yourself show-fit and motivated. It’s never easy! So I’ve devised a little guide to help prevent my fellow struggling artists, who are currently inbetweening, from falling into despair.
1. What do you enjoy?
Make a list of all the things you enjoy doing that you can do on your own. Things like dance classes, reading, gym etc. Only write it down if you REALLY enjoy it. Don’t kid yourself! Be honest and only put pen to paper it if you mean it. After you’ve done this, look at the list and start to prioritise these things in your mind. Make them important!
2. Make a Timetable
Remember at college when your days were planned for you? 9am jazz class, 10am singing lesson, 11am acting etc. Having all this new free time on your hands means you can design and create your own “course” of sorts. Not just for classes but for any activity you want to prioritise. Make each day into your own timetable so you don’t feel like you are wasting one too many hours on the couch watching re-runs of Glee! I’m not the only one, right?
3. Be a good friend.
Friendships should take priority, too. A recent Harvard study concluded that having solid friendships in our life helps promote brain health. Friends help us deal with stress, make better lifestyle choices that keep us strong, and allow us to rebound from health issues and disease more quickly. Above all, friendship is vital for our mental health. So schedule in that friend you haven’t seen since you last left the country, and make an effort to reach out to those who are further away from you. Take this time to feed and nurture your friendships while you can. You never know when the next job will take you away from them!
4. Like your Job!
We all need to pay the bills, don’t get me wrong, but don’t settle for a job that makes you miserable. Life is too short! There are plenty of jobs out there that are suited to performers that don’t make you want to hand in your notice one week in. Go back to the list you made of the things you enjoy. I’m sure you’ll find there are jobs out there that incorporate some of those things in some way! Head in that direction and you’ll be earning your money with one smug mug.
These are very simple steps that many of us might not be putting enough energy into, because we’re too busy thinking about the bigger picture. Yes, the bigger picture is lovely and we absolutely need to have goals, hopes and dreams. However, we also need to be present and happy in the “now”, even if we’re just here temporarily. You can’t let the idea of your next dream job be the only thing that will make you happy. Take control of your happiness, today.
I hope that all of us inbetweeners can find our little moments of happy in each day. Writing this blog has definitely been one of mine!
What will be yours?