This question comes in from Kee-Kee via e-mail.
How Do I Become a Known Poet, Singer, and Actress?
Since my career and experience has been mostly focused on documentary and reality television, with the exception of one feature film back in 2011, I will keep this answer very brief.
First, a piece of advice I received over and over again, from a variety of successful people in Hollywood, when my career first started was to focus on one craft and strive to be the very best at it. You are asking me how to become a known poet, singer, and actress, but these are three very different disciplines. True, they can all be considered types of performance, but the path to success in each discipline looks different, and if you don’t focus on one discipline the path to success may never reveal itself to you. The reason for this is fairly simple. As Malcom Gladwell writes, it takes 10,000 hours to become a master at something. You don’t need to be a master to start booking jobs as a poet, singer, or actress, but let’s say you need 2,000 hours of practice for it. How long will it take you to get 2,000 hours of practice if you are splitting your time between three disciplines?
Second, embrace a community. This piece of advice is specific to the word “known,” which you used in your question. If you want to be known, spend some time thinking about who you want to be known to. What community? Then, in addition to practicing your craft (with the expressed purpose of getting to 10,000 hours), try to engage with that community as much as possible. Start by joining the community and listening, then slowly share yourself with the community so that they embrace you as one of their own.
Third, and finally, don’t be afraid of failure and rejection. This is easier said than done, of course, but the only way to be successful at anything is to fail. A lot. It might help you to start thinking about failure as success, because if you are not failing you are not being challenged and, in turn, you are not growing. And, after all, doesn’t success require growth?
Finally, I want you to know personally that I believe in you. If you want to become a known poet, singer, or actress, you can do it. It may take a lot of focused effort, but difficult does not equal impossible. I say go for it! You only live once, after all…
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