This is a guest post written by Steve Jones.
My name is Steve and I am a singer songwriter called Stylusboy (www.stylusboy.co.uk). I have been making music for a number of years and I have done this alongside having a family and a full-time job. In addition to writing songs, I also create my handmade artwork, design and maintain my website, book live shows and promote myself. It keeps me very busy but I love it and I can't imagine it any other way.
People often talk to me about how I manage to do all this, so when Holly posted looking for guest bloggers I offered to write about how I manage everything.
As a musician with a fine art background I completely love the creative process.
An idea or inspiration coming from nowhere, forming into a song, recording it and then performing it in front of people. It sounds pretty simple and sometimes it is - some songs do come straight into my head and I can almost play them completely through. However some songs will take months, even years, to complete from the point when they first started.
I find ideas and inspiration come to me at all times of the day, be it when I am waking up or even just walking down the street. This is where my iPhone is a vital piece of my creativity.
I use Evernote to capture ideas by collecting lyrical ideas and melodies that I might record into the app. Evernote is amazing because of the way it syncs with everything so I can edit ideas on my Macbook at a later point. In Evernote, I keep things organised in monthly notes and then work my way through them at different points.
Paper notebooks are another way that I work through ideas where I use double pages to write down ideas for songs so I can expand and edit ideas without having to turn over pages. Sometimes my lyrics are stories (purely fictional) and sometimes they based on personal experiences. I play with the lyrics and keep tweaking them until they are finished.
Balancing music along with family and work can be challenging and I try to manage this as carefully as I can.
I don't put too much pressure on myself to achieve too much in a week, or compare myself to others.
I am very much a list person and over the years I have switched between digital lists and paper lists. At the moment, I am using a small notebook to keep my to-do list and then planning things out from there. Again this is where I use Evernote a lot! Through keeping links, working on blog posts and capture thoughts on here I am able to keep working on lots of ideas at different times. I do find that I like the web version of Evernote better than the app, but the way it all syncs is wonderfully useful.
A massive part of what I enjoy about being a musician is the people I meet in person and online. Playing shows is brilliant and meeting people who have come to see you play is lovely. Chatting to them about my songs and what they mean to them is often very humbling for me. I also really enjoy meeting other musicians and creative people as there is always a strong connection when creative types meet up. I enjoy Twitter and Instagram and find them both full of inspiration, but I am careful to not let them take over as social media so often can for many of us.
One of the biggest things I feel about being a creative is just keeping going even when things get tough for whatever reason.
Life can often seem like a very long bumpy road with pot holes and muddy puddles that we can fall into. Often I find we can fall in the same puddles time and time again, because we can forget to keep looking around and avoiding the same pitfalls as it were. Life is about plodding along at your own pace, pausing to enjoy the sunsets and the beautiful things around us. Don't put pressure on yourself or compare yourself to the next person. Find inspiration, find yourself and keep plodding on.
I would love to hear from you on Twitter @stylusboy or Instagram @stylusboy. My website is www.stylusboy.co.uk and on there you can join The Stylus Folk who are my lovely team who I share my news with first.
What do you find most challenging about being a creative whilst having a full-time job? What do you find most rewarding? Let us know in the comments!