Monday, August 10, 2015

5 Traits of Successful Creatives

“I believe that God has put gifts and talents and ability on the inside of every one of us. When you develop that and you believe in yourself and you believe that you're a person of influence and a person of purpose, I believe you can rise up out of any situation.” – Joel Osteen

Every day I meet creative Christians looking to figure out a path to making things work. They are looking for the answers to how to be successful with their talent, when others can’t find the secret recipe and just give it up.

It’s a long road for those of us who want to live out our creative life, and to get through it, I think you need five things.

1. Purpose

“There is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it.” – Napoleon Hill

One of the first things we have to know is the why. Sure, you know you want to sing, or paint, or dance, but why is it important? Just to make yourself feel good? That’s not a wrong answer. To please God who gave you the talent? Also a completely valid purpose.

As Christians, we sometimes want to use our talents to bring people to Christ, or set a good example. But just so you know, this isn’t mandatory. For some reason, we are told if we don’t use our gifts only for God’s glory they are wasted. I’m not sure He requires this. We can do a lot for the kingdom with our spirit, words, teaching, and other things that our creativity opens the doors to.

2. Passion

Of the five things here, this may be the most important. If you’ve lost it, it’s imperative to get it back. It’s the one thing we can’t teach people or make them do.

Only you can have the passion for this. The fire in the belly that make you get up early, stay up late, and work harder at your craft than anyone else.

“Passion is one great force that unleashes creativity, because if you're passionate about something, then you're more willing to take risks.” – Yo-Yo Ma

3. Optimism

The power of positive is an important part of lasting as a creative throughout your life. If you don’t believe things are going to work out and that you can be successful, well you likely won’t.

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” – Helen Keller

I am successful because I believe I will be. It seems silly, but it helps.

4. Persistence

These last two go hand in hand. I talk a lot about not quitting. The creative people I know that have success are the ones who keep evolving. They keep learning and are insatiable about getting better and finding new ways to do things. They will not take no for an answer for long, and always want the next level of quality.

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” – Calvin Coolidge

5. Patience

Well, if you’ve read this far, you already have this. You wait, and watch. You stand pat while others fold. You keep doing what you do as others quit and look for greener pastures.

I’ve said many times, the reason I have become successful is that I have stayed with it as the years go by. Many times I get work just because people ask if I am still doing it.

You may be an artist and just by staying an artist get called for an opportunity because someone remembered a previous show. You may be a writer and get a gig writing because you have kept your stuff out there in front of people.

Any of these five things mark the difference between people who had some talent but never did anything with it, and the creative person who lives a full life happily creating.

“What helps luck is a habit of watching for opportunities, of having a patient but restless mind, of sacrificing one's ease or vanity, or uniting a love of detail to foresight, and of passing through hard times bravely and cheerfully.” – Victor Cherbuliez

Have a great week!

EC
--
Eric Copeland is a producer, composer, and author mainly because he still is. He works hard at all five of these to succeed as a full time creative person. If you’d like to talk more about your creative life, contact us here.

If you are a Christian music artist or songwriter and would like to find more success, come talk to us at CreativeSoulOnline.com

Monday, June 29, 2015

Where’s the Passion?

"It is your passion that empowers you to be able to do that thing you were created to do." - T. D. Jakes

Ah, but what happens when the passion dries up?

I don’t know about you, but there are times that I just can’t find the passion to jump into that creative project that I know I need to get started, finished, or out to the public. Now for my creative clients I don’t have that problem because, well, I can’t! It’s my job. But in my own personal music, writing, blogging, and other artistic pursuits, I just sometimes would rather do something, anything else!

So what do you do when you can’t gather the gumption (as we say in the South) to get to your creative work?

Well, there are a few things you can do.

1. Go get inspired.

See a movie, buy a new CD, go to an art show, binge watch a new TV program, or go to Disney World (my personal favorite.) Do something that gets your creative juices jumpstarted.

2. Hang out with passionate people.

You likely know other people who follow their creative passion. Have lunch or coffee with them. Ask them about their current creative projects, and talk about your ideas and dreams.

We don’t have to be in this alone. God has purposely put creative people in your life. Seek them out and hang!

3. Persevere until the passion returns.

The main way to get your passion back is to…wait for it.... (See what I did there?)

That’s right, just wait. Stay at it, and maybe just show up to be creative.

"You will not be able to muster passion all the time. Human beings are not built to be perpetual volcanoes. You may go for days just forcing yourself to show up at your creative work. That forcing and that showing up are honorable and necessary. At the same time, do not try to locate and kindle your passion. You don't need it, and you can't have it, every day, but you do need it as your core orientation. Something in you must ignite at least some of the time if your work is to feel alive and if you are to feel alive." - Eric Maisel

It may seem hard and you may just want to quit doing anything related to your creative talent. It’s too hard a life. It doesn’t always pay and when it does it’s really unpredictable. But eventually, that passion will return if you just hang in there.

"Passion has a surprising counterpart: perseverance. So many people quit what could be a life calling not because the calling dried up but because their passion did. Sometimes perseverance is the only difference between what you are currently feeling and what you will once again feel." - Carey Nieuwhof

Sometimes it’s just important to get through those times of discouragement, or when life has you tied up in things that you have to tend to. Building marriages raising kids, busy day jobs, struggling to pay bills, and other things can and will take up your time. They may zap your creative spirit and put it off for a while. This is all very natural.

But your muse will return. Your job is just to be there when it does.

“Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too.” - Isabel Allende

Have a great week!

EC
--
Eric Copeland is a producer, author and other stuff, and goes through these periods of passion turning on and off like a faucet. The good news is it always comes back. If we can help you in any way to rekindle or find your creative passion, contact us here.


If you are a Christian music artist or songwriter, check out what we do at http://www.CreativeSoulOnline.com

Monday, May 11, 2015

Create – and Have Fun!

“To create a work of art is to create the world.” – Wassily Kandinsky

It seems more than ever in this brave new world of downloads, streaming, and limited options for income from our art that we may have lost sight of why we create in the first place.

This Just In: Art doesn’t pay well!

Now, as people complain about the mere pieces of pennies they make off their art on Spotify, Etsy, or Amazon, it seems we’ve lost the pure love we had when we started.

Fame

Is it really all about how famous we can be? I hope not, since there are so many artists out there creating, it’s just too difficult to become well-known in the world these days. Our best bet is that our art separates us a little from the maddening crowd.

“Hopefully if you create something fine, people will relate to it, so you're communicating with people, and you're not in a void. On the other hand, because you're always creating and transforming, art always separates you – always.” – Patti Smith

Overthinking

Remember when you made stuff and just loved it? When you didn’t know the rules, or were creating for yourself or your friends and family? Remember how easy and fun that was?

“I think the way kids create is so inspiring. They're drawing a picture? They love the picture they drew; they're not tortured about it.” – Spike Jonze

Once you start thinking and worrying about how the “industry”will perceive your art, or how you will convince that fan to start following you, it’s suddenly not as fun anymore. We need to get back to the more innocent time of creation, but it’s hard as responsible, income-needy adults.

Now we toil over it, and lay awake silently afraid we made a wrong lyric, color, or chord choice.

The smarter (and harder) move is to get back to a time of enjoying the experience and the result of what we do.

“It's impossible to control the reception of your work – the only thing you can control is the experience of writing itself, and the work you create.” – Kim Edwards

Have Fun

I sometimes wonder if those of us (including myself) are not having fun doing what we do, but only doing it because we have always done it, then maybe we should go do something else. Maybe creating shouldn’t be this much routine work. Maybe we have just resigned ourselves that we are lucky to do music, art, or writing and we shouldn’t grouse, even if we hate the stuff we’re working on.

I was once told by a mentor of mine that if I got tired of making music for money, I should go sell tires for a while. Then see how much I like doing music for clients.

As usual, leave it to the creative sensei himself, Walt Disney, to make sense of the situation.

“Besides, you don’t work for a dollar – you work to create and have fun.” – Walt Disney

Have a great week and have some fun creating!

EC
--

Eric Copeland is a producer, designer, songwriter, author, and lots of other creative things that he wants to have fun doing. (Maybe he needs to go to Disney World for a refreshing break?) For more info on what his company Creative Soul does for artistic Christians, check out http://www.CreativeSoulOnline.com

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Dealing with “No”

“In spite of everything I shall rise again: I will take up my pencil, which I have forsaken in my great discouragement, and I will go on with my drawing.” - Vincent Van Gogh

One of the main issues we have to deal with as creative people is how we will react when we hear the word “no”. And if you are doing this right, you will hear “no” a lot.

Sometimes “no” will come in responses like “It’s not right for us” or “It’s not what we’re looking for”. Other times people will politely smile and pat you on the head, saying things like “Good job” or “Look at you”. Yet they walk off without saying they are actually buying what you are selling.

Maybe your local church has said “no” to your talent. Perhaps the local art gallery has said “no” to your work. You’ve gotten rejection letter after rejection letter, and you wonder if all these mean it’s time to hang it up.

It probably depends on the type of person you are, but I have always found that getting told “no” just makes me find a way to create even more. In fact, I think being told “no” by Nashville in my early years as a songwriter actually helped me build the creative blog you’re reading right now!

“Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.” - Dale Carnegie

When someone tells you that you can’t do something you feel God made you for, it can only drive you to the next level. You can use that discouragement and let it gently move you into a different place where you can succeed.

I came to Nashville many times to show my songs to folks, or meet with people who I thought would lead me towards the music career I imagined was for me. But each time, I drove back home knowing that I either had work to do, or that there was something else for me to do. Eventually, I realized there needed to be another Christian music business; one that used my unique set of talents; one that built people up on any level; one that helped the 99% of talented people build a creative life where they could use their talents.

Sometimes we hear no because we are trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. We assume when we see other people get “music deals” on TV, or get their books published, or have their art celebrated, that we are being told “no” and they are being told “yes”. The real truth is that they may just fit in better with the tiny, temporary hole that is “acceptance” in the entertainment industry.

There are many other cases where people had to fail before they stumbled on to what would be their creative destiny. Walt Disney went from job to job early on, and even lost his first cartoon character before creating Mickey Mouse and moving forward. Thomas Edison failed over 1,000 times before stumbling onto the solution for the light bulb. Abraham Lincoln failed in business and politics before becoming president.

Failure and discouragement are just part of the game for those of us who hope to change the world with our creative gifts. Hearing “no” is just part of the daily grind for the working songwriter, author, artist, or musician.

How we respond and proceed, confident God has set us on this creative path, is how we will succeed.

“All your life you are told the things you cannot do. All your life they will say you're not good enough or strong enough or talented enough; they will say you're the wrong height or the wrong weight or the wrong type to play this or be this or achieve this. THEY WILL TELL YOU NO, a thousand times no, until all the no's become meaningless. All your life they will tell you no, quite firmly and very quickly. AND YOU WILL TELL THEM YES.”

Have a great week!

EC
--

Eric Copeland is a music producer, author, and many other things for Creative Soul, a Christian music and media company in Nashville, TN. For more information on this creative company, check out http://www.CreativeSoulOnline.com

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Finding Time

We must use time creatively.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Whenever I meet creative people it seems they are always short on two things that are roadblocks to their creativity: money and time.

I’ve already addressed the money issue here. But time is equally as scarce for us as we struggle to get out the art we want to make. Or is it?

In his very interesting book, Free, Chris Anderson argues that we already have the time, we just spend it doing the wrong things.

“And where do people find the time? By not doing something else — abandoning things that don't return the same social and emotional rewards. Imagine if we could harness just a fraction of the human potential lost watching TV. (Actually, there's no need to imagine that: Rating trends suggest that TV watching has already peaked, and we're increasingly choosing the screens that allow us to both produce and consume.)” – Chris Anderson, Free

Now don’t get me wrong. I love me some TV. I watch more TV than many of you combined. But I DVR everything. Even sports so I can speed through later. I never watch commercials. And if I could watch all my shows on demand, I’d drop cable in a minute.

But it’s not about the TV, or PS3, or anything else we decide to waste time doing instead of painting, writing, playing, or dancing. We make the decision to chill doing those things, and it’s not always a bad thing to chill. Sometimes we need to give our creative minds some rest.

That time though may be our only time in the day to do our creative work, especially if you have a day gig or other full-time work raising kids or serving at church. We can find the time though, we just have to look for it and sometimes schedule it.

“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.” – William Penn

There are hours, in every day, in every weekend, that we can claim or reclaim to focus on study, creating, cataloging, marketing, or whatever you need to be doing. Perhaps you don’t know where those hours will come from, but you might if you look.

Morning Person/Night Person

If you are one of these, you know the time you love. It’s quiet. Not many people in the house are up. You can get stuff done. This is a time to investigate.

People ask me how I get so much done and work on so many things. I tell them there’s a magic time between 11pm and 3am where I’ve carved out some time to work (or not).

Maybe there’s a time in your work day where it’s quiet for a few minutes and you can squirrel away to create. I remember days before work after dropping my kids off for school where I’d write in the quiet (and kind of holy) sanctuary at the church where they went to school.

Or maybe you take lunch, go home, and practice if the house is quiet. If everyone is gone during the day, you've got time to create!

Perhaps it's nap time for the kids. Take that baby monitor to the studio and get to work.

There’s lots of possibilities here, you just have to look – that is, if you are serious about this. Then again, those of us who are serious really have no other choice.

We just find the time.

“Time = Life, Therefore, waste your time and waste of your life, or master your time and master your life.” – Alan Lakein

Have a great week!

EC
--
Eric Copeland is typing this at 1:02 AM. That’s where his creative time is. Where’s yours? If you need help contact us here. If you want to know more about what his company does, check out http://www.CreativeSoulOnline.com

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Just Start Already

“Regardless of your age or station in life, it all comes down to one simple truth: you just have to start.” - Jon Acuff, Start

Whatever you wanted to accomplish last year, but KNOW you want to get going THIS year, it will never happen unless you start. And it doesn’t matter how talented you are, or how much money you have, or how old you are, or how much free time you have – it’s the same for everyone.

You. Must. Start.

Here’s a few things to “quit”, so you can start.

Quit Thinking You Have to Be Great

“You don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” - Zig Ziglar

In these days of Internet superstars and YouTube sensations, it seems like you had better be at the top of your game before you start. In fact, this may be another excuse you have used in the past: you’re not good enough yet. So you put off getting started recording that project, or writing that book, or painting that piece.

One thing I can promise you: if you just get started, and work at it, you’ll get better. You’ll be on the road to great – just because you embarked towards it. I’ve seen it happen time and time again. Creative people get better when they actually create.

Quit Planning Endlessly

“If you have a dream, you can spend a lifetime studying, planning, and getting ready for it. What you should be doing is getting started.” - Drew Houston

Perhaps you think that if you get started thinking about it, that’s a start. But it’s not. You can think while you’re doing it. Do it. I have been thinking of a new book idea for years. Finally, I decided to get off my duff and write the first little bit. Guess what? It’s actually becoming something because I started it. Now I can refine, see what works and what doesn’t. Now I actually have some momentum because it has been started.

Quit Beating Yourself Up

“You don't need to go back in time to be awesome; you just have to start right now. Regretting that you didn't start earlier is a great distraction from moving on your dream today, and the reality is that today is earlier than tomorrow.” - Jon Acuff, Start

Regret is one of those things that follows us around like a dark cloud or an anchor. If you would just let that go and finally get started, you’ll quickly realize that perhaps regret has been holding you down all this time.

Give yourself a break. Get rid of the guilt of not starting all this time, and start now! Then you won’t have to be guilty anymore! Yay!

Quit Waiting for the “Right Time”

“Do not wait; the time will never be 'just right.' Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.” - George Herbert

You can wait your whole life for just the right moment to try and start, then realize your whole life has gone by and you never took the chance. I meet people every day who have let school, work, marriage, kids, and even grandkids be their excuse for not getting started with their creative work. Now granted, these are important if not just good excuses. But they likely didn’t stop you from watching TV, bowling, going out to eat, reading books, or some other hobby or thing you did when you could have been starting your artistic career.

Take advantage of this quiet time, and a new year, and start now. Don’t plan to start – actually start. Take a class. Email someone with a question of how to start. But just start already!

“When people say to me ‘I know I could do it really well, I just haven’t done it yet,’ I always say, ‘You should start doing it now, because it doesn’t get any easier.’” – Michael Lehmann, Filmmaker

Have a great week (and get started!)

EC
--

Eric Copeland is a producer, author, and guy who starts a lot of things, but that’s why you’re reading this in the first place. If you’re ready to get started with something but need help, contact us here. If you are looking to get your Christian music specifically started, check out http://www.CreativeSoulOnline.com

Sunday, December 14, 2014

You Can Get There From Here

It may seem like you’re mired down in stuff you don’t want to do, and can’t really get to the fun, creative stuff you DO want to do. It may feel like there is no path out of your current life to the artistic one you really want.

But there is. You can get from where you are to where you want to be.

It takes some things though, and you have to be willing to take more chances than you probably already have. You also have to believe, pray, fight, produce, and be more consistent than you ever have before. For like, ever. No turning back.

“Never give up, never surrender.” – Jason Nesmith, Captain of the Galaxy Quest

About the Author

My Photo
Eric Copeland is an author, producer, keyboardist, songwriter, and president of Creative Soul Companies. What is Creative Soul? Our main goals are to inform, encourage, and assist Christian creative folks in ministry, no matter where they are in their journey. Thanks for reading! Find out more about us at http://www.CreativeSoulOnline.com