write. play. repeat.

from joy to joy to joy

Thanks, NACA!

Now that I’ve had more than three consecutive hours of sleep, I think I can form the thoughts to make this entry.
This was my first NACA conference and it was definitely a great way to get introduced to the wacky world of college booking.  I don’t envy what the Student Activities Boards are having to do in the next couple of weeks — look through the piles & piles of materials they gathered at the conference, decide who they’d like to book, plan and budget everything… not an easy or fun process.

NACA kids, let me make this easier for you:  BOOK ME, BOOK ME!


Not subtle enough?    Oh well.

I think the download cards were a hit.  I will definitely be releasing all of my future recordings in this format — it saves space, materials, and money.   That’s a win/win/win situation.  For any of you who picked up a download card at my booth and aren’t sure where to redeem it, go here:


and click on the “Redeem Juliana Finch Card Code” link.   That’ll start the process and you’ll soon be humming along to me on your iPod.  Simple.

I had a great time and hope to see some of the same faces at the regional conferences later this year.  I’m going to try to get a showcase spot for one of them, so cross yer fingers for me.  Right now I’m working on adjusting to “Normal Person” hours and preparing for my upcoming shows.  It’s definitely a total switch from staying up all night in the Magical Mystery Gardens of the Opryland.

Lost at NACA

I’ve been up in Nashville since Saturday, participating in the NACA National Conference. This is my fourth time visiting Nashville and I like it more every time I come.  The conference is taking place at Opryland.  I’d never been to that area of Nashville on my other visits so I was curious to check it out.

The Opryland Resort & Conference center, if you haven’t been, is best described as something halfway between Disneyworld and an old southern mansion.   The hotel has narrow, nearly-hidden hallways of rooms off of countless little stairways, lobbies and balconies.  There are lovely lanterns lighting the halls.   It’s really quite beautiful.   That said, I’m really glad I’m not staying at the hotel because it reminds me of a well-maintained version of  The Overlook Hotel and I wouldn’t want to have to find my way to my room after midnight.

Delta Island at Opryland
Delta Island at Opryland

In between the hotel and the actual conference center  is a “conservatory” that houses several shops and restaurants under an enormous glass roof. It’s also home to a series of indoor waterfalls, fountains, and plantlife.  I spent a good half hour when I first got there roaming around that area and admiring the set up.  There are a total of three indoor gardens, each with a different theme.  It’s very well planned out and has probably hundreds of different types of plants.   Guests can even ride in a riverboat along the indoor river path.   One couple I saw was enjoying a romantic Valentine’s day dinner on one of the boats.

While extremely lovely, especially at night, the indoor gardens prove difficult to navigate. The occasional directory maps are entirely unhelpful. In fact, instead of “You are here,” it should say, “Welcome back,” because I’ve walked in a big circle on more than one occasion trying to get somewhere.

wait, werent we just here?
wait, weren't we just here?

Luckily, I’m not the only one having navigational issues.   There are usually plenty of folks wandering around with a sort of glassy look in their eyes, and I can commisserate with them.    Eventually I end up in the place I’m looking for, but often not without help.   I’m sure I’ll have the whole place figured out immediately before I have to leave.

The conference itself has been a whirlwind, and a strong reminder that I’m not eighteen anymore.  The students spend their days in panels and classes on leadership and campus activity planning.   In the evenings, they come visit all the entertainers who have booths in the marketplace and gather information.  We generally have about an hour to make an impression, give them our demos, and hopefully inspire them to book us for the following school year.  My college booking agency, High Note Partners, represents four songwriters and we’re all up here meetin’ and greetin’ folks.  It’s been really fun, but takes a ton of energy.

Today I’ve had some time to hang around Nashville and visit one of my favorite spots, Fido.  They have awesome food and coffee drinks (and free WiFi!)  and a really cool atmosphere.  I try to come here every time I’m in town.

Later on, I’m hoping to play the open mic at the Bluebird Cafe.  Signup is at 5:30 and the line is usually already long by then, and there’s no guarantee you’ll get a spot, so wish me luck.

That’s all for now.   If you happen to be at NACA National and see me walking around with a dazed look on my face, please take a moment to help me out before I make three laps around Delta Island.

making space, part one.

Last year, I was busy.

Working at my “day job” (which I actually love), going to school part-time, doing some work as a labor and postpartum doula, moving into a house, adopting animals, repeatedly resolving to go to the gym (and sometimes going!) — I was really, really busy.   As a result of being so busy living a “normal” life, I let some very important things fall by the wayside, namely my regular writing schedule.

“But I just don’t have time!” is so easy to say with regard to writing, or any kind of artistic discipline.  Sometimes, especially when it’s not our full-time way of making a living, our creative work is the first thing to go when things get hectic.  I’ve learned that in order to have the time to write, I need to make the time to write.   Extra hours will not spontaneously appear in my day as a gift from the gods, nor will any new songs spring, fully-formed, from my pen while I’m sleeping. It’s really pretty simple, but easy to overlook in favor of excuses —

If I want to be a songwriter, I need to write songs.

I need to have an “appointment with myself” every day in which my only assignment is to write.  With a schedule like mine, that seems nearly impossible at first glance.

So how do I recover from my lapse in writing discipline?

The first step is to unstick myself from the mire of my over-scheduled days.  I need to re-evaluate how much I should be doing, what I can and can’t volunteer for, what time I actually have versus the time I’m promising for others.  When I was writing every day, my schedule was much more loose and free.  I could walk down to the coffee shop in my neighborhood and sit with my notebook for a couple of hours.   Given that I now have more responsibilities and a full-time job, that sort of setup just can’t happen anymore.  So how do I create more space in my schedule?

A fun thing I only recently discovered is delegating. It honestly did not occur to me until a short time ago that I don’t have to do everything myself.

This is a big one for me.  I’ve always been very independent (and just love slapping “independent” in front of “singer/songwriter” when telling people about my music) so it’s actually pretty hard for me to come to grips with the idea that I can ask someone else, someone equally or more capable, to help me with a project or take on a certain aspect of it that I’d normally want to do on my own.

A great example is my friend Emily.   She and my friend Wes (now her husband) did the artwork for my album “How To Take The Fall”.  It’s great artwork, I love it and get complimented on it all the time.    Emily has since been helping me with a lot of my poster/artwork needs for promotional stuff.   I am teaching myself how to use photo manipulation software, because I’d like to be able to do it myself if she’s not available, but in the meantime, why not delegate these tasks to my extremely creative and talented friend?    Once I told myself (and Emily told me) that it was OK to rely on her for these things, a big portion of my stress went *POOF*.

I think a lot of us in America are raised to be independent, do-it-yourselfers.  This can-do spirit is fantastic for innovation and motivation, but honestly, most of us get burned out on it at one time or another.  I know I did.   Learning that just because I am capable of doing a project doesn’t automatically mean I am obligated to do it was the first, and one of the most important, steps in getting my writing back.

Something amazing happens when you learn to delegate and take on less.   Time appears.  A half hour here, two hours over there.  Like a gift from the gods.

Yesterday, I drank a cup of English breakfast tea and worked on a song.  I felt guilty for a moment about delaying making chili for a church function tonight, but then realized it could wait, because I had more important things to attend to.


Hey folks,

This is going to be my new blog home about my writing process, being a songwriter, shows I play, etc…

Eventually it’ll be integrated into my main site but for now I wanted a separate home for it.

Please update your twitter and AIM accounts to reflect the new screen name, too —  writeplayrepeat.