Sunday, February 07, 2016

Walt's 4 C's of Creative Success

"Somehow I can’t believe that there are any heights that can’t be scaled by a man who knows the secret of making his dreams come true.  This special secret, it seems to me, can be summarized in four C’s. They are curiosity, confidence, courage, and constancy, and the greatest of these is confidence.  When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way."  – Walt Disney

Everyone reading this has a creative dream, or if they don't call it a dream it's at least an artistic goal. So if we want to take Walt's words above to heart, let's see if the four C's can help us in our quest to get somewhere with our creative passions.

Curiosity

I think this manifests in how we seek out information about what we want to do. Are we actively surfing looking for information about our craft? Are we trying to network and find new people to talk to about how to get better?

"Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible.” ― Richard Feynman

Those who succeed are simply those who worked harder to get all the knowledge they could find on what they wanted to know about, then made an informed decision in how to proceed. This goes for creative endeavors as well.

Confidence

“Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

Creativity is one of the things that can get beat out of us as we go through school, and into the workforce. We lose our confidence because we are not encouraged to create freely. The people who are not creative prefer if you are not also si it doesn't threaten their little world.

Be confident in your abilities, and work hard to get better at what you do creatively. Wake up every day and repeat your goals and dreams to yourself. Have faith that God put them in you for a reason, and you will confidently go after them daily!

Courage

Getting the courage up to sing a song, show off a painting, or blog your opinions can be difficult. But if you don't make the effort, then the work you've done creating is all for naught.

It's not about being fearless, but knowing that taking the step out to share your God-given talents is why He put you here in the first place. Sometimes it takes leaving what is familiar and safe to really see how you will succeed as a creative.

“You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.” ― William Faulkner

Constancy

I know Walt said the greatest of these is confidence, but I believe very strongly that consistently working on your craft is the best way to become better. This may sound kind of silly, as common sense would dictate the more you do something, the better you become. But you'd be surprised how hard it is to actually be consistent! You'd be surprised how many people start something and never finish. You'd be surprised how many never even start!

Sometimes I feel like the reason for my success is rooted in the fact that I just stayed with it. I didn't quit, and I was more consistent in what I do than others who would like to do the same thing.

"In essence, if we want to direct our lives, we must take control of our consistent actions. It's not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently." - Tony Robbins

There you go, 4 C's from my creative mentor Walt Disney. I hope they help you be successful as they have me!

Have a great week!

EC
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Eric Copeland loves Disney, that much is true, but his goal is for everyone to be able to explore and find success with their creative talents. For the Creative Soul is a service of Creative Soul, a consulting, production, and marketing company for Christian ministries, If you'd like to learn more go to http://www.CreativeSoulOnline.com

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Your One Big Goal for This Year

“And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been.” - Rainer Maria Rilke

At this time of the year it’s pretty much expected that we would be thinking about how we can be more creative in the New Year. We can easily lament the time not spent on our creative output. I know I do!

But despite these lamentations, every New Year gives us the opportunity to start afresh. A clean slate.

“The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.” - Melody Beattie

Goal setting is not that interesting to most of us. In fact, it’s boring and sometimes even useless. But usually that’s because we set too many goals or parameters.

Just One Big Goal

This year, how about one big goal? How about that ONE thing that you want to get going this year? That ONE thing you’ve been waiting to do, but life finds a way to stop you from doing.

Maybe it’s a recording of your music, maybe it’s finishing that book, maybe it’s some other creative passion. I know from experience that those things will only get started and done if you move them to the front and center of your life.

Whatever it is, there’s been something holding you back. This year make it your big goal to find a way through the roadblocks, which are usually two or three big ones.

1. Money

“I think money is a wonderful thing because it enables you to do things. It enables you to invest in ideas that don't have a short-term payback.” - Steve Jobs

To do larger projects, especially if you are creating a film or a recording project, there is most likely a cost that is beyond your reach. This can be a huge stumbling block. There’s seldom that kind of free money sitting around and, with so many people wanting to do these kinds of things, it’s hard to find companies to foot the bill. So what to do?

Well, like any business, it takes capital to start. And yes, I am calling becoming a recording artist, movie director, or any other fulltime artistic career a small business.

So where does any capital come from? Well, we either raise it, finance it, or save up for it. You see people all the time raising money on Kickstarter or some other funding site. Businesses start with small business loans all the time, providing they have a strong business plan or a partner who believes in them. And yes, dear reader, there is always just working more or longer and saving it up.

2. Time

When I did a poll last year (which I will repeat again below), the two main answers to what holds you back from your creative dreams were Money and Time.

Most of us could afford to do the thing we most want to do, but we don’t prioritize our time correctly in order to achieve it. We watch TV, or say yes to too many things other than the one thing we want to do most in the world. Often we’re so busy making sure we are doing everything everyone wants, we forget to make sure we do the thing we know we should be doing.

“The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” - Stephen Covey

3. Location

Many people we work with in music come to Nashville because they are completely isolated where they are. Even if there is someone to work with, their choices in studio, gear, engineer, musicians, and then marketing are very limited.

Maybe it’s time for you to look beyond your little corner of the world. No matter how much you may love your local team, you may actually be stunting your and their growth by just doing the same thing over and over where you are.

“Location is all about the efficiency of work for me.” - Michelle Grabner

Sometimes just going where the top pros are in your specific genre or profession can be a huge difference on getting to the next plateau in your art.

So this year, make it your goal to finally get to the dream.  Break through the things that have been blocking you, and get to the life God has had for you all along.

Have a great year!!

EC
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Eric Copeland is president of Creative Soul Records and helps creative artists every single day get on track, make the project of their dreams, and get it out to the world. We’re looking for NEW ARTISTS to bring through our unique program for 2016! If you’d like more information, go to CreativeSoulRecords.com

So, what is holding YOU back from your creative dreams? Take the Quick Poll here >

More blog posts on this topic:

This is the Year

No Resolutions, Just Resolute!

You Can Get There From Here

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
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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
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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
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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
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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

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