Monday, October 26, 2020

Do One Creative Thing

Hey Creatives,

Do you find yourself completely overloaded with creative ideas? 

Does it feel like there are so many artistic things you COULD do that you end up doing nothing, completely paralyzed by the weight of all those possibilities?

Maybe like me you work for a church, or school, or company, or for yourself, and a thousand cool, awesome ideas are flowing through your mind. Or it’s the weekend, and there are many creative things you COULD do today. If you’re not careful, you’ll feel overwhelmed and end up doing NONE of them!

 

So, I want to talk about four simple ways to figure out that ONE CREATIVE THING you could and should be doing right now.

1. What is the current thing that HAS to be done RIGHT now? 

You know, that one thing you are really tying to finish. That thing that MUST be done and out your mental way.

This could be a deadline. Something due the very next day, or TODAY!! You HAVE to get to this creative thing before you can even think about anything else.

The other day I was deluged by all the creative ideas I had. I literally had 5-10 brands that I wanted to work on and know needed work. I had video ideas, blog ideas, picture ideas, music ideas, and more. I was in turmoil, not knowing which thing to focus on.

Then, my mind cleared as I remembered that really, and truly, I only had to get one thing done that day (I needed to finish for an online church broadcast for release the next morning.) Everything else could wait. All I really had to do was focus my creative engines on one (or five) tasks to get that done. But what was ALL I had to focus on.

Once you know that current thing, then block out all the other creative ideas and FOCUS on that one thing today. When it’s done you can think about other things. But today, THAT PROJECT is your focus. Put all your creative brain mojo on that and make it great.

2. What will bring the most value the quickest?

This is a great one for the to do list makers out there, like me. My to do lists have to do lists. (Props to Evernote. If you don’t use it, your probably should!)

But sometimes, the rent needs to be paid, or the car payment, or whatever. What will bring the paycheck, or keep the paychecks coming? Focusing on the creative task at hand is helpful for you and the client or project it goes with. That job may be your lifeline to pay bills or pay for more creative projects.

If you can’t figure out what to do, and especially if you are needing to get paid, go to your to do list and find the one what will bring MONEY! Or find the one that will keep your boss or client (who pays you money) the happiest.

Sometimes focusing on the value of getting a creative job done is the real answer on what creative project to tackle next!

3. What will bring you the most pleasure to do?

If there is no deadline, or monetary need, then maybe the best creative project to choose is the one you know will be the most FUN. Remember that? Remember fun? It’s what we used to do with our creativity before we became such driven artistic “professionals.” Before it paid the bills and became our master!

Create. For fun. For YOUR enjoyment.

If you’re looking for what artistic thing to do, do THAT. Wouldn’t it be so fulfilling to get more down the road or actually finish that creative project? Wouldn’t it be great to be able to bring that artistic treasure that you’ve been mining for so long to the world?

4. What do you FEEL like doing the most?

This is a question I ask myself a lot as I think about what I want to get done creatively. Sometimes I just go with the one that I want to do MOST. I look over all my creative projects that are somewhere along the line of being done and pick the one that strikes me as the one I WANT to do at that moment. It usually works, and is probably the one I should do as a creative.

I think we can lessen our creativity when we just make creative work like any other work. So we need to FEEL it as much as possible.

What one creative thing will you do today?

I hope these are some things to try and see if they help your mind to focus next time your mind is besieged by all the creative things you COULD be doing.

Have a great week!

EC

Monday, September 21, 2020

Facebook For Creatives (The Good News and the Bad News)

 So...Facebook...

Am I right?

It’s the 800-pound gorilla in the Social Media room. It’s the main way we communicate with our families, because truly, they don’t use YouTube, they don’t Instagram, and they don’t Tweet (I'm not sure who still does). 

They “like” things. Oh they’re getting married. “Like!”  👍

Oh they’re having a girl. “LOVE!” 💓

Oh look at that crazy picture of Dave. “HAHA”. 😀

And that’s what we are working with while trying to build our professional, important, creative brand on Facebook.

Now, it’s not the the fault of our family or friends that they are on Facebook looking to “like, love, and haha" things. It’s the way they stay connected.

But WE are trying to MARKET ourselves! 

WE are serious here! WATCH OUR VIDEOS! ATTEND OUR ONLINE LIVE EVENTS! 

THIS IS OUR CALLING!!!!

And it’s not that they don’t care. They will may give you a LIKE. Maybe even a LOVE! Maybe a nice comment. Possibly share it, “bless your heart”.

See, these aren’t the adoring fans of your art you were looking for (waves hand like Jedi)... these are friends and family. But guess what, like it or not, when you are just starting out they ARE your fans.

So let’s talk about marketing your creative brand on Facebook. It’s kind of a good news/bad news situation. And it really reads kind of like a fairytale.

Good News - Facebook Pages

About tenish years ago, Facebook decided to give businesses a Page that was separate from their personal FB page which let them invite people to become “fans”, and later to “like” your business or whatever you made the page about. 

It was beautiful. You kept your personal stuff on your personal account, and you put your links to you songs, your art, your videos, your events, and your store pages on your FB Business Page.

It was the perfect social media dream...

Bad News - Back to Family & Friends

Then FB pulled "the old bait and switch”. Suddenly, a few years ago, and almost literally overnight, they changed the rules. They wanted to be all about friends and family again. They wanted Facebook to be the friendly place, safe for families and friends again to see your cookouts, your wedding pictures, and your crazy hilarious dances.

The selfish reach of your business page was severely dealt with, by not dealing with it at all. Ha, we just won’t show it to people. Unless of course, you want to advertise....

Good News - You Can Reach the World with Ads

Here! Just “boost” that post and like magic they will come to the business world you have built! Add strangers to your business reach, and keep reaching any audience you want...with more ads of course!

Bad News - You Have to Reach the World with Ads

Put a post up, especially one with a (gasp) link to your YouTube video, and...crickets. But we have a solution, just run an ad and we will happily push your people and even strangers to any site you want. Even our dreaded adversary Google/Youtube! (Boo! Hiss!)

“But I can’t pay the rent!” 

“But you must pay the rent!”

And so it goes...but like a knight in shining armor, Facebook provided the answer.

Good News - Keep people here (especially with video) and we push your stuff!

Video is the new darling of all social media. Instagram (IGTV and now Reels), Tik-Tok, and especially Facebook. They love video! They want to be the “new YouTube”. Upload all the video you want and we will show it to everyone. 

Bad News - We’ll show it to people for THREE seconds. With the sound off.

And better yet, we’ll make a HUGE deal about how many 3-second “views” you get. You’ll get hundreds of three second views. Now pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. Yes the 3 seconds are the time it takes them to scroll past and maybe PAUSE to see a video start with no sound before they keep scrolling. But HEY you wanted to be seen! There ya go!

And so it goes with Facebook for creatives and brands.

Yes, they will show the videos you slave over to hundreds, maybe thousands (with ads). The caveat of course, is that 90% of those views are 3 second pauses as they scroll. Never mind that the average Facebook view time of a 3-4 minute video is :10 seconds. TEN SECONDS.

Oh, and please broadcast live with your video...that really brings people in and keeps them there to see what you're going to do. Once a week please. Please stay here. Please.

Your Aunt Margaret will really LIKE this one!

The Good News and Bad News Bottom Line.

Good News: You can get traction. You CAN get eyes on your work. 

Bad News: But it has gotten harder since they changed the algorithm. 

Good News: You can add to your following by running ads and let everyone who likes your page and even strangers see your content.

Bad News: You’ll have to buy ads and boosts to get most business page posts seen and pushed to strangers.

Good News: Video works! Upload as much as you like! We will show it to everyone!!!!

Bad News: Most views will be 3 seconds long as people pass by the video on the timeline. And do not even ask what the average watch time is...it will just hurt your feelings.

So should you use Facebook to promote your creative brand? Probably. You really can't afford not to. And most everyone does, except of course those creatives with thriving YouTube channels and videos.

Those folks just use Facebook for their wedding pics, cute baby shots, or hilarious pictures of Dave.

Have a great week!

EC
--
Eric Copeland is a composer, arranger, producer, and is now doing a video version of this blog you can now see on video at Cre8iv.TV (a plave for creative video.)

Come on over, watch, subscribe, learn. Did we say video?

Monday, August 24, 2020

Why Creatives MUST Focus on YouTube

For years we have been playing the game as we try and show the world our creative work online. Our whole GOAL is to get people to ABSORB the art we put up, whether it’s a music video, artistic short film, or any video about your creative thing.

We have played the Facebook video game, and rolled with all the changes, playing by their rules that they change every week.

We have tried to build a Twitter audience, an Instagram following, and even tried LinkedIN. We’ve tried to figure out if we should go live with videos on Facebook or elsewhere, and we’ve tried to blog and even podcast.

All to get people to listen to our music, watch our videos, or see our genius ideas.

And, oh yeah...we toss our videos up to YouTube too...

Well folks, the time has come to FLIP all that on its head. I think for creatives to be seen and heard, we HAVE to focus on YouTube FIRST!

Yes, we will still use Facebook and it’s infuriating algorithm that mainly shows your posts to the minimum of people, especially if you are driving them to your site, or Youtube, or some site like Spotify, unless you boost or run ads. There are ways around this, which we will get to in another post about Facebook.

If you are an Instgrammer then you’ll still use that, and same with Twitter or LInkedIN. But the difference is the focus needs to be pointing them to YOUTUBE first. (It still involves ads so don’t get too excited, but welcome to marketing.)

Now, focusing on YouTube really has nothing to do with money, because unless you get a million views or plays of anything and you are consistent like every week!, there’s not much money. But it IS about getting the music or art or talent you have in front of the eyes and ears of people, and YouTube is where we need to focus. And here’s why:

Sure, you post a video natively to Facebook and ooh, look at all those views...and ooh look at how many we get if we boost it, ooh. We have been doing this to clients’ and our own pleasure for years.

NEWS ALERT!
You’ve been duped. Those 2000 Facebook “views” are not 2000 people watching. There may be a handful watching all the way through, maybe 100 watching one minute of your four minute beautiful video, but the other 1,900 are PAUSING as they scroll down their timeline. PAUSING! Not VIEWING. And there’s no sound even if they do pause unless they push the sound button!

Drill down in the numbers and stats of your Facebook videos (better yet don’t, it will only depress you), and you will see the drop off in viewership after 3 sec, 10 sec, and the dreaded one minute drop. You’ll also see the average view time which will break your heart. Probably :09 seconds is the average viewing time of your 3:50 minute video.

Folks, people just don’t have time to watch a 3-4 minute music video when there are political views to fight over, stupid memes to share with your friends, and things to either scare you, make you laugh, or BORE you entirely.

That’s why for all our Cre8iv brands we are now focusing first and foremost on steering people to YouTube for the videos we want people to watch. YouTube has much better audience retention than Facebook or Instagram video. But YouTube is where you can build a base of subscribers who are going to watch and hear more video than just 10 seconds.

Each person you get there is a possible subscriber, like someone subscribes to Netflix. They go there to see the new episodes of the shows they like.

BE the show they like.

Facebook is a place where you can send people to YouTube, even though it doesn’t want you to, more on that next time.

LinkedIN and Twitter are both places you can put YouTube links. The people that follow you there can click on the YouTube video.

Instagram? That’s a different deal. You really only get one link in your bio, and you can either make that go to your YouTube Channel or embed your YouTube videos in your web site and send them to your main web site.

And of course you can embed YouTube links directly in the code of your web site, which IF you do with their embed code, this also counts towards views. And in general, there’s no better place to have people than at your web site.

So that’s it, that’s our rant for this week.

Steer...everything...to YouTube. Every other social media, especially Facebook is temporary. It’s a newsfeed. It’s a superhighway of information.

YouTube is where people focus on one thing: videos.

I’ve heard it described like this:

Facebook (or Insta or Twitter or LinkedIN) is like driving on the highway and seeing an electronic billboard for a few seconds which you may or may not pay attention to for a few seconds.

YouTube is like a Hulu or Netflix that you go to on purpose to watch something. You are more likely to sit and absorb the video on YouTube because there’s not messages and notifications popping up to disturb you. You went there on purpose to watch a video.

Next time we will talk about Facebook, and while it may be a great tool for getting creative video to your friends and family, we'll talk more about how to use it better for getting people to your YouTube Channel, which is really where you want them.

Have a great week!

EC
--
John Eric Copeland is a composer, and also...a video creative, as luck would have it, so he can get all his (and his clients) creations on YouTube!! 

For a general idea of all what's going on with Eirc's music and his clients, go to http://www.Cre8iv.TV

Monday, July 06, 2020

The Joy of Creating

There’s often not a lot to be joyful about in this world these days. Your Facebook feed is jammed with differing viewpoints. The “stats” and opinions on what is happening around you are at times frightening and idiotic.

But we creatives have a refuge from this madness. And we are at our best when creating or sharing creative projects.

It’s Our Joy

Sometimes creating can be a labor of love, or there can be complications from making or sharing your art. But we have to remember the pure joy it brings us and others.

We could all use a little more joy right about now.

The feeling when you get to a dramatic or meaningful part of the music...

The release when the song is done and it has made it’s impact...

The great pleasure of hearing someone was soothed, healed, changed, or just given a brief break from a sometimes harsh reality that won’t go away as quickly as we would like.

Joy for Yourself

Making it can be tedious, but it’s also that thing that keeps you in your happy place. Yes, some people don’t understand how much work goes on to create something. 

But still, it’s exciting to think about...wonderful to dig into and the hours fly by...and an incredible release when it is done and ready to share with the world.

Joy for Others

One thing we have learned through these crazy times: we need diversion. We need something to take our minds off the crazy for just a a little while and bring peace.

Our music, our art, our videos, they bring content that people can use right now! Joy in a sometimes joyless world.

Whether you are the creator, or in any way can support creators, you bring joy to yourself, the creator, (the Great Creator), and the world.

Be part of bringing that joy to the world. 

Have a great week!

EC
John Eric Copeland is a composer, producer, and lifer creative. His companies work unceasingly on creating joy for others through musical and visual art.

If you would like to create something and need help, check out our main site at cre8iv.com

If you would like to work on a piece of music with John Eric Copeland, check out “The Masterscore Initiative” at MasterscoreMusic.com, our new site for commissioning new music in any genre including gospel, classical, jazz, pop, and holiday.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Distracting the Creative Soul


In a time such as this, finding a distraction in the vacuum the world has left us in can be difficult.

In my last post I talked about this empty time being a great chance to throw yourself into creativity. But what happens when you do that...and have done that? For weeks!

There is no other external stimuli besides what you have to do at home. You’ve written every song you can, and shown everyone on Facebook. I mean how many “live concerts” can you do?

You’ve been painting, writing, sewing, and everything you usually say you don’t have time to do. But now you’re just a little...okay, a LOT bored.

So what’s a bored creative soul to do?

Redouble Your Efforts

OK, so you’ve finished that creative project you wanted to do. Now maybe it’s time to double down and really get the umpteen other projects you know your want to do started. 

Maybe map out arrangements for that next album, even though you just finished this current one. Now is the time to make those rewrites on those novels you were really not completely happy with, and get them back out to digital stores. 

Take a day (any day...they are all pretty much the same right now!) and sketch out the beginnings of new songs, stories, drawings, dances, or whatever. Focus completely on this like it’s a special task that must be finished that day.

If ever there was a time you could push yourself it could and maybe should be now.

Redesign Your Creative Space

Tired of that dark room you work in? Find a sunnier spot for your creating environment. Make the space that you create in a joy to work in. Clean up, pare down, get rid of stuff you don’t need, and put everything you don’t use in the garage. Or better yet sell it on eBay. 

It’s a great time to sell stuff on eBay, and the Post Office will come pick up your packages so you don’t even have to get your mask and go out during the apocalypse!

Reinvent Yourself

Sometimes you can choose to go in a completely new direction. 

If you weren't being creative before, then sure, this is a great time to get busy creating. But if you have revved up the music, or the painting, or the writing, and are still finding yourself a bit bored, perhaps it’s time to try something new.

Instead of writing another song, what about writing that novel that could go along with your music that you thought of long ago? Completely switch gears at least for some minutes of the day.

What about taking items you have found, and making something new out of them. Get crafty in a completely different way than you have before.

Reimagining...

As a long-time songwriter, I am finishing some personal projects, and starting new ones right now. But I have also found a completely new thing that has both taken some of my time and been a great distraction.

Some time ago I found myself watching a few too many shows about finding and fixing up finds at flea markets. So I went looking and found an old upright piano someone was giving away locally. I got a truck and went and got it. I thought it would be great if I could turn it into a keyboard shell, desk, or workstation.

Well, this first project is now done. The “53 Cable” is a fully reimagined piece from the guts of an old piano. A beautiful piece of furniture that is about 1/4 the weight of the old useless, out of tune, broken keyed piano. And hopefully, some creative use will come out of it for another 70 years.


Now is this a new career? No. But was it a fun distraction and perhaps a new creative direction to add to all my other creative directions? Maybe.

I hope this gives you some solace and ideas as you move forward during your time of solitude, or whatever forced inactivity you are in right now.

Have a great week.

EC
John Eric Copeland is a composer with a new album coming out soon, and starting a new album this week but also...novels, stories, and apparently...pianos.

Follow all these creative endeavors at Cre8iv.com

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

While You're Waiting...

We are terrible at standing still. Especially those of us who are creative and always on the go.

Yes, the world around you may be forcing you to come to a dead stop, keeping you at home, bored out of your mind.

But think of this time...like a Christmas break. The world naturally comes to a stand still then. You are off or home from work.

Yes, you may find yourself shut down, off work, and otherwise twiddling your thumbs while the world gets back to normal. No school, work, sporting events, amusement parks, or social gatherings to keep you busy running from here to there?

So while you are waiting for the world to get back to normal, and instead of reading every scary news item by scared people meant to shock you into reading their article of fear, might I suggest...

Use this Break!

Instead of cowering in fear and running from store to store to make sure you have enough like a snowstorm or hurricane is coming...what about this?

Maybe it’s time to get back to that creative project you’ve been putting off because you haven’t had a moment to spare. Perchance life has finally slowed down and allowed (forced?) you to get busy on that new song, album, painting, novel, or whatever creative project you do, or have wanted to do.

Time is Precious

This is usually our cry and excuse as to why we don’t finish projects. “There’s no time!!”

“Gotta take the kids to basketball,  soccer, baseball, whatever practice...”

“We have Disney tickets!”

“The Final Four, man!!”

Well, at least for the next few weeks many of those things that suck up your time are not available to you.

Your school, your job, and your various other usual obligations are all cancelled or suspended.

Use this time wisely. You are being forced to slow down, to re-evaluate how you spend your day. And if you get off the news and social media sites that only want to endlessly tell you how bad things are, you’ll have even more time!

Beat Distraction

We have an enormous opportunity to conquer the distractions that usually keep us from starting, continuing, or completing creative things. If you are a creative, this should be like a breath of fresh air for you.

Instead of worrying, or replying to other people worrying, or playing either side of why it’s worse or better than what “they” are saying...use this time to get away from all the distractions that usually plague us, and really get back into your creations.

Use your artistic skills. Stretch out. Make this a peaceful time of therapeutic, creative work.

Stay away from Facebook, the bad news, and other stories reveling in yet another unbelievable stat or sensational story about what is happening.

Silently thank God for the quiet that has been forced upon you, and get something done.

Have a great break!

EC
--
John Eric Copeland is a composer, producer, and author who is trying his best to NOT look at news, Facebook, and anything else that may pull us down into the muck of this dreary time. Instead he's focusing on his creative to-do list and trying to check off items.

If you'd like to get to work on your creative to do list, contact us at cre8iv.com

If you are a Christian music artist, we are here to help. Find out more at CreativeSoulOnline.com

We are also now looking for a gospel and jazz instrumental artist to write and produce for our label CreativeSoulJazz.com. We'll be developing this artist for both gospel and jazz genres including radio, publicity, and booking.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Your First, Best Destiny

“If I may be so bold, it was a mistake for you to accept promotion. Commanding a starship is your first, best destiny; anything else is a waste of material.” - Spock to Admiral James T. Kirk (Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan)
Yes I just started a blog about creative life with a Star Trek quote. But it’s so applicable, I couldn’t resist.

All the time, both as a creative and as a leader of creatives, I have been or see what I feel are very talented people not accomplishing all that they could.

I was once one of these very people, and still can be if I’m not careful.

So how do you move towards and even reach your first, best destiny?

The (Not Quite) Undiscovered Country

The funny thing about destiny is that we kind of already know, especially once we reach a certain age, what that thing we are supposed. Everyone says it, our friends wonder why we’re not doing it, and we even know what we should be focusing our time on and doing with our talents.

You may be doing part of it now. Maybe you use your creative talents some, but know there is more you could be doing.

The Final Frontier

Many things come along that prevent us from doing that thing we know we are supposed to do. Maybe it’s a spouse, or parent, or illness, or a job (even a creative one). It could be all these things that limit your ability to move forward.

The hard part is finding a way through these limitations for what you know you should be doing.

Now this is tricky, because it can “feel” like ending a relationship, leaving a job, or some other big life change is what you need to do. Often, it’s just figuring out how to talk to your spouse, or boss, or pastor, and find a way forward towards the next step of your creative journey.

The Time Trap

Your time on this earth to do what you were put here to do is not unlimited. One word that keeps coming back to me these days is “legacy“. How do we leave our mark of creativity, leadership, and change that God put us here to make? How, in the finite amount of time you have left on this earth, do you achieve the creative destiny you were meant for when you were created?

Your legacy isn’t about you, it’s about the people your creativity reached, taught, led, and the influence you had in leading people.

Tomorrow is Yesterday

Each new sunrise provides a new possible day to do what you were put here to do. You can continue to go to work in a job that makes money and helps put bread on the table. But you also need to be making strides towards that creative destiny that could also put bread on the table, or at least be a bigger part of your life as you do work.

Don't let your next day be like your last where nothing got done towards your dream. Make today and tomorrow count on your trek to your creative goals. (He is really going for it with the Star Trek references...)

The Wrath of Not

OK maybe wrath is a little strong but it matches the theme. The only cure for regret when you look back on your life, is to have known you did all you could with all the tools God gave you.

Whatever you feel your destiny was, is, or should be, try your best today to achieve it, or at least make a step towards it. Make that call, email that person, take that class, or find the opportunity to get your creative work or leadership out there.

Be who you were made to be. Anything else is a waste of material.

Live long and prosper (creatively),

EC
Yes, Eric Copeland is a Star Trek fan. A Trekkie, a Trekker, and he has the collectibles to prove it (which are now on sale here by the way). if you have questions about your next move creatively, get in touch now and let tomorrow be today, and not yesterday...or something.

For general creativity, go to cre8iv.com

If you are a Christian artist or songwriter and want to get going on your music and ministry, go to CreativeSoulOnline.com

We look forward to hearing from you!

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