No one ever asks a med student, "So what are you going to do with your life?"
...because obviously, the answer is, be a Doctor. (All you nerds who leave a comment and get specific here, i.e. surgeon, nurse, etc. you know what I mean.)
Why should the answer be any different for an artist? If you create art, then you'll be an artist. If you want to be a teacher, you will teach. If you want to be a lawyer, you will go to school, you will be a lawyer. For some reason when it comes to a profession that has a shaky monetary value, at best, or lacks an outline- it makes people nervous. It makes people question your sanity, or scoff, or treat you like a child- like you're irresponsible and naive. You're the joke. Then comes the onslaught of questions...."So, what's your backup plan? What if it doesn't work out? How does your family feel about this? Well, don't you want health care (yes is the answer, Obama-make some shit happen please)?? Are you on drugs?" etc. etc.
I've never done anything because I felt like I "had to." And it's worked. It's served me well, because I've followed my own truth. MINE. Not yours, the one that works for me.
Choosing to follow a passion that doesn't have a safety net, or a ladder to climb doesn't mean it's impossible- it simply means you'll find a way to make it work, or you'll give up. There is no grey area. And how you define "making it work" is up to you. Maybe you aren't Coldplay, or Yo Yo Ma, or fucking Michael Phelps but you're doing it- in some way, in some medium. You're doing it because you were MADE TO. You'll learn to scrap, to be resourceful and clever. To cover all the outlets, to dig and connect. You will fall and you'll dust yourself off. You'll tap dance in bumble bee costumes for cash? You will be laughed at, you will be jeered, you will be doubtful and you will then lick the wounds, and walk a bit taller.
My back up plan? I don't have a fucking back up plan, because when you things get hard, which they always do-in any profession, that "back up plan" BECOMES the plan. It's a cowardly way of giving up. Of surrendering under the pressure of other peoples ideals and expectations of your life.
What if it doesn't work out? Here's my answer to that question; IT HAS TO. And, it is. What I am doing is working, because anything else that I would chose to do wouldn't serve me.
I do believe, the Universe (aliens, God, Allah, whatever you choose to call "it") will not make you do what you have no talent for, as long as you're willing to continue under the belief that your talents exist for a reason, to be used.
I'm not rolling around naked (because I presume I would do this in a lot of cash) in money with a glass of Veuve in my hand in St. Tropez. My "tour" schedule doesn't include stadiums and big paychecks, it's more like drink tickets and homeless people showers in truck stops and bribes with kitchen staff for a free quesadilla. Because that's at least SOMETHING. FOR NOW. And even if it's 7 years from now, I may not be as "reckless" i.e. broke, but I'll teach. I'll play. I'll edit. I'll continue to live under the precedent that I will do what I know.
Treat your desires, your dreams, the thing that makes you tick, or talk a million miles a minute because you're so excited about it- like it's your full time job and it will be.
I am a writer, so I write. I am a musician, so I play. I am a multifaceted, sparkly mother fucker with a shitload of desires that ALL desire to be fulfilled, so I will fulfill them.
TELL ME: "YOU ARE ___________ SO YOU ____________"
Yo, you bloggies in Seattle, Portland, Vancouver? Come see, meet me, buy me a beer, propose to me, etc and my band here! We're doing it, the best we can :)