Sunday, March 17, 2013

How to Live a Creative Life (If That's Really What You Want) Part 1

“Protect me from what I want.” - Jenny Holzer

The actual title of this was much longer but wouldn't really fit in the Subject line. That title was “How to live your dreams, if that’s really what you want to do, by someone who does, and let me tell you it’s a lot of work and iffy living.”

Almost all the time when I meet new creative people, no matter what creative thing they want to do, they tell me “my dream is to quit my job and live only doing my creative thing as my career.”

That’s a nice dream isn't it? Let’s all take a moment and go there…

Ah yes, there I am sitting on my porch looking at the beach, writing blogs, novels, and songs without a care with the surf air blowing gently as the sun sets. Then I go out to my mailbox to find the checks waiting for me there, ready to deposit in the bank. So I get in my flying car and zoom on down to the…

OK, that’s enough of that, back to reality.

Now this could indeed be the future, my future (well, except the flying car, darn!), but the problem with it is, like many dreams, I’m not considering the reality of what likely would go with it.

First let's get into how to get there...

Part One: How to Achieve a Total Creative Life

First you need to build a business that will sustain you involving your creative gifts. Many of you reading this want to be full-time working artists or songwriters. Either of those will take years to build before you can think about supporting yourself on it alone, and some of you may have already started down that path.

An artist looking to be full time will build a quality product, and gig - a lot. Every weekend of the year is a good start. It actually might take several times each weekend to get to critical mass. This can be done while you work, so go ahead and get started doing that. Once you are seeing more return that what you put into it, you are ready to think about doing it full time.

If you are looking to be a songwriter full time, you will not be spending your time gigging. You will spend your time crafting amazing songs, producing quality demos, and knocking on every publisher’s, producer’s, and artist’s door until you are getting lots of cuts. This can be done while you work your day job, and when you get to a critical mass of royalties that you feel starts to pay the bills, you can think about leaving your job and really going after it.

Perhaps you have some other creative business in mind. Whatever it is, it takes years of becoming really good at it before you can even think of making a living (or supporting a family!) by doing only that. Even the first few years, be prepared to live dangerously, carefully, and I hope you like Ramen.

But I do have to tell you, when it works, there is nothing like it. Being your own boss can be amazing. Working on your own time can be the most freeing thing in the world. Living on your schedule is a dream, and being creative for a living can be very, very rewarding.

However, there is a darker side to all this, and you need to know it. I am here to tell you, it can be rough. And I have the credit score to prove it.

(Read Part Two: Why Living a Creative Life is Unpredictable and Difficult here...)

Have a great week!

Eric Copeland is a consultant, producer, songwriter, and author living the dream of a creative life, which is mostly a dream, but can also become a nightmare. To see how Eric helps artists, songwriters, and creatives on their path toward a creative life go to

1 comment:

  1. anything you accomplish is definitely consequently magical and delightful. cherished this. cheap runescape gold


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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