It’s been one year, almost to the day, since I embarked on my first book writing project, The Nashville Musician’s Survival Manual. And while there is an end in sight, there is still a huge amount of work to be done. I have never attempted to write a book before this, and it has been a massive learning process. One from which I have learned even more about the music business, the literary process, and myself. It takes a lot of hours to write a book, and one of the biggest challenges has been staying focused on such a detail oriented project over a long period of time. Being a working musician at this point in Nashville requires one to wear a lot of hats, and the hats I have been wearing have been that of a working guitar player, tour manager, and studio owner, while also working as a marketing director and content writer for a website company (not to mention my new role as a startup author).

It’s such a paradox, all throughout the book, I make references to the necessity for musicians to wear a lot of hats for survival. I am now finding myself wearing more hats than ever, and while I’m okay with this, the very nature of this kind of fragmented existence doesn’t always allow me to put my efforts where I really want or need to.

I just finished transcribing and editing an extensive interview for the book with world-class recording engineer Bob Bullock. Bob talks about this issue of wearing a lot of hats for survival and how this new age is forcing many of us to do so. He also said that while he now has to wear a lot of hats, he still works at being exceptional at one thing, which in his case, is that of a mixing engineer, and why it’s important to have at least one specialty to give you a competitive edge. In my case, my specialty is guitar playing, but I have found that guitar playing alone won’t pay all of my bills. I love playing guitar, I love the feeling I get when I’m playing with a live band, or recording in the studio. Through the process of researching and writing this book, interviewing musicians, and recalling some of my prior musical experiences, I have found a new appreciation for the musician in me. I just wish I had a little more time to wear my musician hat. Meanwhile, I can at least write about it.

Yesterday I learned a valuable lesson. If you have something to say to someone important in your life, perhaps texting isn’t the best way to do it. I just learned this the hard way. I made the mistake of complaining to my boss about an issue that wasn’t really that significant through a short text. He perceived my three sentences in a way I had not intended, and before I could explain my thoughts further, he reacted harshly. We went back and forth in texting world for a little while, but it was well into the next day before things calmed down. The human voice, whether in person, or over the phone, can give different meaning to the simplest words and phrases. Those same words and phrases appearing on a screen can have several different meanings, depending on how the reader interprets them.

I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s, when most human interaction was done through telephone calls, face-to-face meetings, or handwritten letters. If you needed to communicate with someone, typically, a real conversation would take place. Now, most people I know prefer to communicate via texting or e-mail. For me, texting is great if you have a simple question for someone that requires a yes or no answer. But if it involves anything that’s dynamic or complicated, intricate details are often hard to convey in 140 characters or less. I can’t even think of how many times I’ve had long winded “conversations” with someone who is important in my life, texting back and forth for 20 or 30 minutes, or sometimes more. I often wonder, why didn’t we just talk on the phone? This would have been a five-minute phone call. Sometimes in the middle of those situations, I’ve tried to call the other party, and they didn’t answer, but they do answer the texts. Why are we afraid of direct human interaction? I know there’s no going back, and texting is here for good. But I think that next time I have something important to say to my boss, or anyone else important in my life, if there’s any question about how my message will be perceived, I’ll wait until I can do it in person, or at least in a real conversation.