Good old Robbie Fulks offers up a ten-step guide on how to be miserable as a professional musician. A couple of my favorites:
4. Treat the grubby menial/muscle aspects of the profession — driving and repairing vans, hauling gear, arguing with promoters, delivering grinning Gene-Kelly-like performances under punishing or humiliating conditions — as the province of someone else, someone less creative and fragile than yourself. […]
9. Take no time to reflect on who you are, what you do well, and how best to present this to strangers — just do whatever comes to you, which is by definition art, seeing as you are an artist and all.
If you haven’t had the chance to see Fulks in concert, you really should. He puts on one of the best shows you’ll ever see. And he’s recently released a collection of 50 MP3s for $35 or $1 each. I hadn’t heard about it until just now, but I’ll be checking it out. It seems to be an experiment in whether or not “you can sell home-recorded music independently, from a laptop, and make money.” Let’s hope he makes enough to keep recording and touring, because he’s awesome.