The day before my world was rocked: May 12, 2013

For the last 12 days I have been intensely focused on the latest installment of my lifelong saga:  trying to figure out how to be a pianist, a creative soul, with time for deep work, and still be able to be financially secure. Everything took a much darker turn after my cancer diagnosis in August 2006. But that will be the subject of future posts.

The most recent chapter began May 2.  May 1 was the date that the winners of the Alexander and Buono International Piano Competition were notified.  I had felt such certainty that I would be chosen. The inner intuitive voice which sometimes answers my questions had been ADAMANT that I would be chosen, that I should send in my recording, that I should spend $150 on once again putting myself out there.  By 10 p.m. on the first, I had checked the website twice– did it mention anything about whether they would call or email?  Would they let those not chosen know in some way at a later date?  No information on these points.

May 2 and 3 were very sad days. I felt disappointed that my inner voice had misled me, but relieved, in a way, that I wouldn’t figure out how to get to New York on short notice with a limited budget, and get my repertoire and my nerves in shape post haste.

By May 4 I had convinced myself that it was all for the best. Now I could stop worrying finding time to practice piano again, or memorizing music,  or how to pay for time to think.  I could focus all of my energy on trying to develop a successful internet business.

So over the next eight days, I read extensively about ebook publishing;  spent 3 days researching Amazon ebook sales standings sorted by topic area to try to discover a profitable niche in which to launch my first ebook; read several books about ebook promotion; concluded that I should launch a blog BEFORE writing an ebook;  began the blog process by transferring domain names to a new host; read up a lot on WordPress and WordPress themes;  tried installing one theme; gave up, switched themes;  spent three days customizing another free theme with the help of some great YouTube videos.  Ok, if you followed all that, here’s what happened next.  I became aware( or perhaps just neurotic) that my adult student attendance rate was dropping and that I hadn’t had a new student sign up for 4-5 months.  Why would that be?  Then I put 2 and 4 together and got even more anxious – my piano studio website had dropped off the front page of the google results for “piano lessons= Berkeley”.   My conclusion was that I should start trying to apply some of what I was reading about search engine optimization to my piano studio website, you know, get some new students in the door to make it easier to breathe while I pursued this entrepreneur-retirement saving thing.

Today, I signed up for a $97/month SEO copywriting tool that helps you analyze your website copy and make it more appealing to google.  It’s quite a complicated process – glad I went to U.C. Berkeley.  But to use the exciting new tool I had to upgrade my version of Word.  That was $120.  It took an hour or two to download all these things and then install Word.  Opened up Word – could NOT find how to access the $97 service.  Argh.  So, since it was available with a web based interface, I decided to try copying and pasting my text from my teaching website to the web based analyzer.  Then I spent another hour or two trying to figure out its advice and implement it.  Not an easy task.

Finally I gave up.  My ‘little grey cells’, to paraphrase Agatha Christie’s detective Poirot, were tied into knots.  Time to back off and take care of logistics like vacuuming and laundry.

Just another day in the life……