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
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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
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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
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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

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Make a Plan and Stick With It

“In winter, I plot and plan. In spring, I move.” - Henry Rollins

As things start to slow down and you look back over the year, did you accomplish any of your creative goals?

Did you get into the studio and do that recording? Did you finish that book? Did you get things moving with your creative business? Did you knock on the doors of publishers with your songs?

It’s so easy for weeks, months, and yes, even a year to slip by without getting anything going – even when we promised ourselves that this would be the year! We get comfortable in our lives just the way they are. We get so busy running from here to there, from bed to work then back home and back to bed, taking kids everywhere, or just trying to keep the bills paid and keep everyone happy. We just don’t have time to get to our dreams.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Creativity and the 9 to 5 Blues

Or it could also be the other way around. I actually wrote a song called “The 5 to 9 Blues” about working part-time when I was in retail back in the 80s. Anyone who has ever worked an evening shift at a lazy mall department store on a night when no one is out shopping can relate. It’s boooooring.

But actually in these times, we can find the downtime we need to be creating. I once heard someone say unloading trucks or doing some other menial work allows your mind the freedom to wander on its own. I have to agree. I remember getting many creative ideas while I was forced to fold blue jeans, or stock a shelf of toys, or stand and stare at the clock hoping magically it would be quitting time.

And because I had to stay there, and do the task before me (or make one up), invariably I’d start humming a tune, thinking up a story plot, or planning some creative project I would work on when I got home.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Money v$ Creativity

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?Matthew 6:26

“Dogs have no money. Isn't that amazing? They’re broke their entire lives. But they get through. You know why dogs have no money? No Pockets.” – Jerry Seinfeld

Ah, the eternal struggle.

You want to do something amazing with the talents you have. You even know the ways you can go about it, ways that will certainly give God glory, and fulfill His plan for you. But, when you think about what it might take financially to get your art out there, it terrifies you and sometimes even plunges you into the depths of despair.


About the Author

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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