The difference between an ok life and a great life is hard work.

Whatever lofty goal or big dream you have in life, it’s going to take some hard-ass work to achieve it.

The best thing you can do for yourself when pursuing a goal is immediately throw out the idea that it will be easy or happen fast. Because it won’t and it won’t.

Accept the fact that anything worth getting only comes after a lot of hard work, and get to work.

Here’s some of the work I’m doing right now: making music, making videos, leading a band, booking shows, friending hundreds of people on Myspace each day, performing as much as possible, practicing and learning new skills and songs on the guitar, trying to get blog publicity, and on and on and on.

A little work every day adds up over time to a lot of goals reached. A lot of work every day accomplishes even bigger goals even faster. The work is never going to end, so get used to working constantly. Once you reach your goal, you’re going to have to work to stay there, and work even harder to get beyond that point. So get comfortable with the idea of hard work every day. Because there really is no alternative if you have any ambition at all.

So, I’ve started doing open mics, with the goal to do one every night. Every night! In the last four nights, I’ve done two open mics and went out for two others that turned out not to exist. 🙂 But the two that I did were totally awesome. I am realizing the power of live performance. Even one open mic that gets me 3 new email addresses on my email list feels SO much more productive and helpful than myspacing for a few hours, and I think fan connections made in person are way stronger than those made online. I always find that when people meet me, they’re interested in hearing my music, so I believe all I have to do is just meet everyone in the whole world, and then my music will be really successful! 🙂

I’ve been practicing guitar a lot, but still the only two songs that are ready to perform so far are Texas Boys and You Don’t Have To Worry, so I’ve been doing those, and about 5 others should be ready to perform soon. But Texas Boys delights audiences wherever I play it, and it’s been so awesome to hear everyone laughing REALLY hard at the jokes in the song. It really draws the audience in and makes them remember me. One person who saw me perform on Tuesday night even bought the song on iTunes with no prompting from me!

After I play at a mic, I gather people’s email addresses for my list, and reach out with a personal email to each person before adding them to the list, reminding them who I am and thanking them for letting me stay in touch and offering them a free mp3 as a thank you. People have been responding really positively and seem really interested in keeping up with what I’m doing. I think if I keep playing an open mic every day all month, I could have a really good number of people at the show on January 30th!

I also have my first rehearsal with my backing band tomorrow, which will be really great to see how the songs are coming along. I have been really blessed to find some excellent people for this band, so I hope they like working together!

Oh man, I wanted to blog about Tuesday’s open mic, because it was amazing. It’s called Penny’s Open Mic and it’s on the Lower East Side. You go down into this narrow, pitch dark little entranceway, down a bunch of stairs, into the Below St. Mark’s Theater, which is a lovely little black box space, you pay three bucks admission, and then you put your name in the bucket, the names get called, and the weirdest, most awesome, friendly open mic in the world starts. Every single act except for like 3 out of 34 acts was at least really interesting, if not totally great. It was fascinating to see what other people are working on and thinking about, because some of it was totally off the wall. The feature act was a man who played Satan and stripped naked and masturbated live on stage with a wooden box draped over his head while discussing the difference between art and craft and revealing that he had been a virgin until he was 31. I mean, you just cannot make this shit up. It was amazing. It was shocking and moving and so well done and so fearless and vulnerable and hilarious. I really commend that guy for his bravery.

And anyone who thinks things have changed in the East Village and that it’s lost its edge has not been to the East Village recently. I think everything I saw that night, I also could have seen in 1988, had I not been five years old at the time.

So I had to wait till 2am to perform there after arriving at 9pm, and the room was freezing for the whole 5 hours, but my set went over great and everyone was so cool. I think I’ll definitely be going back there soon.

I can’t believe I was dragging my feet about the idea of really committing to getting out to open mics. They are so amazing and fun! I think they’re gonna be my new obsession!