Written by Elise Olmstead

When I was a kid, I was the teacher’s pet.  No matter what the subject, I would always try to have the best grade in class and would be embarrassed at any grade below an A, not to mention I cried if my name was written on the board.  As I got older, my focus shifted to my art and art classes, and I strived to be the best artist in school, and spent all day in the art room helping people learn how to draw.  I don’t know what it was that drove me to be ambitious, but I knew that no matter what I did, I wanted to be the best at it I could possibly be.

This isn’t to say I didn’t have a couple years of less than stellar drive, but I bounced back quickly.  Something that I discovered after high school, is that the world is filled with so many artists or writers much better than me, and a sort of disillusionment happened.  I didn’t quite believe in myself as much now that I was out in the “grown up” world.  I’ve learned, though, after making my passion for art, music, and writing a career, that it isn’t about being the best, but always doing your personal best.

When the magazine started, I knew very little about publishing or programs like InDesign, so it’s obvious to see my skill level in the earliest issues.  The great thing about having a monthly magazine, is that I’m always constantly working on a new issue, so I get tons of practice.  I write constantly, and have learned so much about Photoshop and other Adobe programs that I always wanted to be able to use.  Besides the magazine, The Mad Tea Party Jam is another full time job in which our skill level has increased over the years.  We started out with very little experience, but a big vision, and just tried to create the most genuine, amazing festival that we possibly could.

While practice makes perfect, another aspect of our work ethic is perhaps the most important one, which is being the best person you could be.  We make sure to always stand by our word, support our community however we can, and give our job 100%.  Whether we are hosting a band at our festival, covering a festival for our website, or designing a graphic for an advertiser, we always want the people we work with to enjoy the experience and feel that we treated them right.

It’s not always about being the smartest, or the most talented.  There has been plenty of talent wasted without a sincere effort to be doing your best.  It always hurts me to see those with wasted potential, or even willing mediocrity.  These people in the music industry do not last very long.  The music industry is full of some of the hardest working people I’ve ever met, and there is so much eager competition to succeed that if you aren’t excelling, you’re falling behind. It’s worth mentioning that most of the people I see advancing are amazing examples of character as well.

Anything that you do, you can be great at.  Raise your own standards and expectations of yourself. Surround yourself with other hard working, motivated individuals.  I think you’ll be surprised at how much you are actually capable of.

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Photo by Elisha Gud