Monday, July 01, 2019

The Simple Things

“It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.” - Laura Ingalls Wilder

As creatives we can have a tendency to go big or home. The big album. The big art show. The big dance number. The big sprawling novel. Certainly, there will be times when these kinds of larger, encompassing artistic displays are necessary.

But I think we can be just as fulfilled working on more bite-sized chunks of creativity as well. Instead of a big album stuffed to the gills with 12 or more songs, we can do music singles. Love it or hate it, this has actually become somewhat of the way of the music industry of late. Artist are releasing songs one at a time, then down the road releasing them together as playlists or albums.

A painter actually does usually work on one piece at a time but can sometimes have many going. What if you just focused on that one piece of art, and then pushed it out to your audience, store, or showed it at your studio, church, or school?

Dancers dream of touring with companies, getting in a big production with many numbers, or a big recital. But what if you just set your iPhone up and shot one routine you had choreographed, then post it on your YouTube channel. Push people there with Facebook, Twitter, and put it on Instagram. Get your dancing and choreography work seen!

I find the short story (or these blog posts) to be rewarding and certainly more able to be consumed by a larger audience quickly. It promotes your author brand and before you know it, like the music artist, you could have an anthology of stories to publish on Smashwords, iBooks, Amazon, and more.

“Think simple as my old master used to say - meaning reduce the whole of its parts into the simplest terms, getting back to first principles.” - Frank Lloyd Wright

Our artistic pursuits can be complicated, large ideas, but don’t have to be. We don’t have to have think through a long tome about time travel, but tell a good interesting story about a person and their life. We don’t have to write a symphony that will be lauded by the professors at a prestigious place of higher learning, but instead create a simple melody that will make someone smile.

Concentrate on releasing to the world the simple messages and creations you have and quit holding off on sharing your work because it’s not the huge masterpiece that will impress or bring you millions.

It’s just that simple.

Take this simple message with you today as you plan, write, or release your next creative endeavor.

“Deep and simple are far, far more important than shallow and complicated and fancy.” - Fred Rogers

Have a great week!

EC

Eric Copeland is an author, composer, and creative who helps other artistic people find their way and build creative lives.

His book “How to Live a Creative Life” is available now exclusively at Amazon Kindle. Find out more here.

Here is a new video about Simple Things from 88Upright, an Upright Bass and Piano duo featuring Pat Gallo on bass and composer John Eric Copeland on piano.


Monday, May 13, 2019

The Tension of Time

“To be a human being is to be in a state of tension between your appetites and your dreams, and the social realities around you and your obligations to your fellow man.” - John Updike
In listening to a recent podcast I heard someone mentioned “the tension of time”. We know we only have so much time (in our life, in our week, in our day) to accomplish all that we want to. With all the things we MUST do for work, for family, for church, for health, we often don’t take the all important time for ourselves. And for creatives that means taking time to create.

Do you feel that tension? That anxiety that you aren’t getting everything done with your music, or your art that you looked to get accomplished in this life? Does it worry you that you may not be on the right road to leaving your creative imprint on this world that you always felt you would?

Well it does me. But I see each new day as a chance to rectify that. Each coming day, week, or year is a new chance to get to all the songs, ideas, and other creative things I want to get out into the world. To realize all my dreams though, I’m going to have to bust it. This tension of time is good as it motivates me to get things in gear, make plans, and let that pressure be the engine that pushes me forward.

As I wrote in an earlier blog called “Such Little Time” one part of the tension can be that we know we only have so much time on the earth to create. Even our bodies and minds can betray us and take away the desire and the means to create.

Tension Moves Us
“Tension is the cornerstone of any good story.” - Eric Nylund
In movies or books, the tension the director or author creates keeps us bound to the story. It motivates us to keep watching or reading. We want to see how the story turns out, how the protagonist wins.

With the tension of time, the creative is the protagonist, and we win by creating, and distributing our creations.

How many stories in cinema or literature have you read where the artist comes to the end of his life regretting not creating their masterpiece, or not sharing their art to the world?

The Tension of the Misstep
“There is always tension between the possibilities we aspire to and our wounded memories and past mistakes.” - Sean Brady
We all feel if we had only made the right step at some point, we could have been a better version of ourselves. If we had done more in high school, or majored in something creative in college, or toured with that band in our twenties, or not made the decision to leave our art behind for the day job, or because we had kids.

That seemingly wrong decision or misstep in life is also a tension of time. We feel our chance to be an artist was wasted, and the stress of all that time misused can keep us from pursuing our greatest dreams.

This is similar to how it feels about saving money or investing. Why start now if you haven’t done anything up until this point? But that is the tension talking.

Using the Tension

Instead of worrying about how little time you have, use the tension to MAKE time. Instead of lamenting about how things aren’t happening quickly enough, we have to MAKE things happen, or find someone to help us make things happen.

I find I am using that tension and the uncertainty that it creates to push me towards more creative projects, creative time, and proliferation of art out to peoples ears and eyes. I think we can use that worry, that uncertainty, that restlessness to get us off our butts and get to work!
“There's a constant tension in climbing, and really all exploration, between pushing yourself into the unknown but trying not to push too far. The best any of us can do is to tread that line carefully.” - Alex Honnold
Have a great week!

~

For the Creative Soul is brought to you by Cre8iv Entertainment, Inc., a multi-media company that creates and distributes art, and walks alongside artists of all kinds. If you need help with your music, or any creative thing that you feel you have wasted enough time NOT doing, we would love to hear from you. 

Find out more at cre8iv.com

Our new book, "How to Live a Creative Life" is now available for free at Kindle Unlimited, or just $5.99 at amazon. Be, work, and live more creative. Find out more here.

Monday, March 11, 2019

What Is Your Vision?

“You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.” - Woodrow Wilson
Are you missing the vision of your life? Are you so busy making a living, watching TV, or playing around that you are not seeking the grander vision God has for you?

Think about what you would like to experience in your life - the goals, the aspirations, and your heart's desire. Isn't it time in your life to make that vision a reality?

You can you know? You can stop dreaming. You can stop mindlessly walking through life working and waking and working again.

What are you waiting for?
Vision encompasses vast vistas outside the realm of the predictable, the safe, the expected.” - Charles Swindoll
It’s not easy to take the creative thing God has given you and attempt to move it to the next level, but anyone who has realized their dreams in music, art, acting, dancing, or anything has done so by taking the first step. They auditioned, they went out for the team, they made that phone call or sent that email. They got started.

Then and only then can the vision that God has given you, or perhaps a prophecy or vision someone else has had for you, come to fruition. That recording will never get made, that performance will never happen, that life out there that could be changed by you, that peace your creativity may bring someone...none of that will matter if you don’t step out in faith and take action.
“Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.” - Joel A. Barker
I’ve seen artists change actual lives, both theirs, their families, and the people they touch with their art. They come with a vision, they find a way to put that vision into a step by step plan, then they find help to make it happen.

Maybe this week, instead of just more TV watching, more Instagram or Facebook scrolling, more mindless work days, you take real action toward the vision for your creative talents. What could your artistic talent be if you put a grand plan in action? 

You are unique and God only made one of you with your specific talents, ideas, drives, and focus. Isn’t it time to fully realize everything you could do if you put all your energies toward that?
“The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.” - Neil Gaiman
Have a great week!


For the Creative Soul is a free service of Cre8iv Entertainment, Inc. If you’d like more information on how to pursue your creative passion in a larger more effective way, please contact us at cre8iv.com

Monday, November 26, 2018

Real Artists Don't Starve!

“A starving artist is an artist who sacrifices material well-being in order to focus on their artwork. They typically live on minimum expenses, either for a lack of business or because all their disposable goes toward art projects. Related terms include starving actor and starving musician.” - Wikipedia.

I recently heard about a book called “Real Artists Don’t Starve” by Jeff Goins. I highly suggest you go to your favorite store (brick and mortar if you can find one, or online) and get a copy. While it’s contents and meaning are no surprise to me, it does confirm many things I have been barking about on this blog and to clients for years: Real artists don’t have to be “starving artists” but indeed can thrive...just not the way you maybe think.

I’m not finished with the book, but so far three important things have jumped out at me.

You need to work with someone better than you.

This has been my mantra and what I did before I started any of my businesses. I crawled out of my secret laboratory and started working with engineers, players, and others that possessed abilities I didn’t have. I found mentors and asked them every question I could about what I wanted to do. I still do it.

“Artists starve because they think they can make it on their own, ignoring the need for a teacher. Thriving Artists, on the other hand, are both humble enough to admit their need and audacious enough to seek it out.” - Jeff Goins

You need to find patrons.

These are people who not only like your work, but truly support it. Maybe they get involved financially, or in some other way, but they are true believers and would do anything to help you succeed. They believe in you and your talent, and have for years.

This could be a producer, a publisher, a record label, or some other creative, or it could be an uncle, a neighbor, a member of your church, or teacher. They have the ability to connect you because they see the worth and potential of your talents.

“If you are going to create work that matters, you are going to need an advocate—a person who sees your potential and believes in your work. This isn’t just about money. You need someone to give you a chance, maybe even connect you to the right people.” Jeff Goins

(Hint: The patron you probably already have)

Here’s a real secret to this patron business that the author points out: sometimes your day job can be your patron. He uses a few examples of artists who used or still use their day job to “pay for them to create in their free time”. When you think of it that way, quitting your job to do music, art, or acting sounds kind of dumb. What if you can compartmentalize your “work”, and FOCUS on your creating?

This takes the “work” out of work. Maybe that means using breaks to write fiction, weekends to make albums, early mornings or late nights to paint, or whatever your creative passion is. Your day gig could pay your bills and “pay you” to be a creative.

When you think of it that way, suddenly that day job doesn’t seem like so much of a burden to your art does it?

You have to go where the scene is.

You can stay in your little town as long as you want, and keep doodling and messing about as you always have. But if you want to get to the next level, build true followers of your art, and improve, you eventually must go where the industry is for your art. That could be Hollywood, New York, Austin, Nashville, Orlando, or some other town where people who are at the top of the craft you want to be in are located.

“Thriving Artists do not succeed in a vacuum. They put themselves in the right places and avail themselves of the opportunities there. They don’t try to create just anywhere—that would be foolish. After all, not all places are created equal, so Thriving Artists go where the magic is.” Jeff Goins

There’s no need to be a “starving artist” if you don’t want to. Your parents, friends, and others may have told you not to quit your day job, or urged you to! Either way, the whole idea you have to "suffer" for your art is kind of a old artists wives tale.

“It is the advice we give a friend who dreams of painting for a living, what we tell a coworker who wants to write a novel, or even the tale we tell our children when they head out into the real world. Be careful, we say ominously. Don’t be too creative. You just might starve. But what we forget is that the story of the Starving Artist is a myth.” Jeff Goins

Have a great week!



For the Creative Soul is a free resource from Cre8iv Entertainment, Inc. that includes companies like CreativeSoulOnline.com, PositiveSpinSongs,com, and CreativeSoulJazz.com

Excerpts From
Real Artists Don't Starve
Jeff Goins
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/real-artists-dont-starve/id1175956064?mt=11
This material may be protected by copyright.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Fighting the Doubt

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” - Voltaire

It’s there...waiting. That gnawing, seemingly nonsensical, but real all the same feeling: doubt.

Is this REALLY what you should be doing? Is this creative pursuit that you’ve chosen to do really what you should be doing with your time, money, and all the work it takes?

Now we could get into lots of reasons why you are experiencing doubt about your creative craft. They could range from no funds to pursue it, no reaction from people this week, in a rut or dry artistic period, or maybe you blame...I don’t know...who could it be...satan???

Certainly our artistic pursuits can be attacked by all these things. It’s all too easy to wake up and think to yourself...do I really want to do this? And it feels silly, because sometimes it happens right when you have just experienced success or real connection with those who you connect with your creativity.

I’ve written several times on this sort of thing, but it’s always good to remember this one thing: If you are meant to do this (and likely you have been doing this creative thing your whole life), you are going to keep doing it when this funk passes.

So here are some thoughts about how and why to combat doubt.

Remember who created you

So you know God made you in His image. You accept that all the gifts and talents you have been given are from Him right? So if you believe all that, what would ever let you think that you were NOT supposed to use your creative talents for Him? Why else would you have them?

It’s easy to believe what the world tells you; that you need to do “good” for the world. But the world is just that...the world. God is God. Capital G. The great Creator. Capital C. There should be no more doubts after this point.

Take a break

We can take ourselves and the ‘responsibility to our talent” way too seriously. Go see a movie. Go to an amusement park. Binge watch a TV show on Netflix. Let other people’s creativity entertain you and give yours a break. Often I find that being fed by some other creative vision (a movie, a TV show, a book store, or amusement park) gives me the push I need to get back into things and realize that my creativity is exactly what I need to be doing.

Take a longer break

Go on vacation (preferably the beach and watch the ocean all day...for a week). There’s nothing like getting away from the day in and day out of responsibilities and rigermerole to give you fresh perspective. I suggest the beach or Disney or someplace you can really turn your mind off for a week. You’ll find perspective, and usually a fresh spirit to move forward bravely and fiercely.

Get Better

“Modest doubt is called the beacon of the wise.” - William Shakespeare

Doubt can be a good thing. Maybe it’s telling you you aren’t good enough. And maybe you aren’t!!

If you feel you aren’t good enough or talented enough, but know that you have some modicum of talent that you can use for His glory...get better. Yes, it is THAT easy. Take a class. Work with someone better than you. Learn, practice, grow...strive to be better. Don’t doubt you are good enough if you haven’t worked hard to be better. Don’t doubt that God wants you to do something with your talents if you haven’t worked to keep honing them, improving them, and reaching people with them.

Get Out There

Sometimes it feels like no one is listening, so why bother? Why keep banging your head against a wall if no one is ever going to blessed by the creative stuff you do? Likely the problem is that a magic door has not opened, a record deal has not been offered to you, an invitation to join the worship team has not been extended, or a spotlight has not shone on you in front of thousands.

The reason for this void of recognition or lack of opportunity is less about your talent, and more about it never getting out there in the first place. If you feel you have made that effort to get out, then perhaps you just haven’t put out what you need to, or you haven’t reached the right audience.

And getting out there doesn’t mean on the stage. There’s a stage you can get on right now. Whether you do a live video on your Facebook page, or record a video and put it out to your FB or YouTube audience, it’s a stage that requires no invitation or booking. You can get out there if you choose to.

Have faith

“Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother.” - Khalil Gibran

Just like you can’t know happiness if you never experience sadness, you can’t have faith without ever having doubt. If you can’t have faith in your abilities, your talent, or your opportunities, at least have faith that God has you. He has plans for you. He gave you talents for a reason. It may just take some time to realize them.

Be confident there is a plan, and that it may take a vacation, some work, meeting the right people to help, learning some things, and/or finding the right audience before the doubt completely goes away.

But as a life long creative I can promise you, doubt will always creep back in. It’s part of the deal, part and parcel of a creative life. Don’t let it rule you, stop you, or freeze you. Just work through it because it’s just part of the amazing, fun, crazy life of a creative.

“Doubt can motivate you, so don't be afraid of it. Confidence and doubt are at two ends of the scale, and you need both. They balance each other out.” - Barbra Streisand

Have a great day!


For the Creative Soul is familiar with doubt, we doubt all the time. We see it all the time in the creatives we work with. If you have questions, feel free to contact us here.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Sing a New Song

“Praise the Lord. Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise in the assembly of his faithful people.” - Psalm 149:1

I’ve learned something in my work with artists in the church, at school, and even just with other musicians in general: they are scared of "new". It’s like if they do something other than what has been done before, people will be confused, or maybe frightened by this new thing.

You know who’s not scared of new things? God. And it’s kind of obvious... (Gird up your loins, a litany of quotes in this post!)

“Praise the Lord with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre. Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.” - Psalm 33:2-3

“He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.” - Psalm 40:3

“Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.” - Psalm 96:1-3

“Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him.” - Psalm 98:1

“I will sing a new song to you, my God; on the ten-stringed lyre I will make music to you.” - Psalm 144:9

“Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise from the ends of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that is in it, you islands, and all who live in them.” - Isaiah 42:10

And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. - Revelation 14:3

God loves a new song. It shows Him several things.

We’re not robots.

We’re not just mindless automatons repeating phrases over and over again. A new song is pure glorification. It is an act of pure praise towards God, not the mechanical routine of worshipers for the sake of routine worship. He is NOT a routine God.

We’re not the Pharisees.

They got stuck in the past, refusing to accept the New Testament that God was bringing, that we now know to be our complete salvation! So we will NOT be like them and only preach the old, but revel and champion the new!

New Song is Infinite. Like God Himself.

No finite set of songs can capture God’s amazing greatness. So we have to endlessly invent new songs to demonstrate our love and understanding of this.

The New Song is our Holy Spirit.

Making a new song is a risk, like walking on water. If we accept and embrace the risk of creating something new, and taking chances, it makes it obvious that we rely on God through Faith and the Spirit.

God loves when new things are made.

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” - Isaiah 43:19

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” - 2 Corinthians 5:17

Or as the King James sayeth:

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things have become new.” - 2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV)

God loves NEW!! But He wants us to bring a new song not just to the church, but to our own lips, and to the world! He wants to be seen as ever-changing and ever-evolving. That’s why only older songs, or even a song we heard someone else sing just won't be good enough. We sing a new song because we have and are changed and evolved too!

“We must sing our new songs because we are new people. We are not the same people who were saved during the third century. We are not the same people who were saved during the Reformation or the Great Awakening or even the 1910s. God wants us to articulate our praise in our own words and our own songs! Here we find an inconsistency in many churches. We rightly stand against ritualistic prayers and stolen sermons, yet some insist on exclusively singing a bygone generation’s praise.” - James Steinbach

Don’t be afraid of making a new song, which could also mean being a part of a new thing. It’s how we grow as a church, as Christ followers, as creatives, and especially as children of the Great Creator himself.

“God will never cease to inspire awe in us about the breadth and depth and height of who He is and his mind-boggling love for us in Christ, and we get the joy of continuing to create and sing new songs of praise to Him for it.” - David Mathis

Have a great week and sing a new song (have I made that clear?)

--
At For the Creative Soul, creating is what drives us, and what should drive you too. Your new song may not even be a song. Maybe it’s just being part of a new song, or it’s a new painting, or some other new creative thing you have done. Maybe it’s being part of a new thing that is happening in your church or in your life that honors God.

If you a Christian music artist or songwriter and need help making a new song, contact us at creativesoulonline.com or get inspired at our site for all creatives, cre8iv.com

Monday, June 18, 2018

Asking vs. Wishing

“Life punishes the vague wish and rewards the specific ask.”

Most of us have a vague wish that our music, our art, our films, or whatever we do creatively will be consumed and appreciated. Maybe we will even be remunerated for our creative endeavors. Money! For nothing! And the chicks for free!

But we have this fear that if we come out and ask someone to purchase a CD, or hire us for a show, or tell people why our art is important, we will be repudiated. (How about these 10-cent words eh?)

In general, the quote above is true. Have you ever noticed the person who speaks up, who asks for what they want, generally gets it? While we meek, polite sheep waiting for what we want end up standing in the corner, meekly hoping for the things we really want.

Once in New York City, I was hoping for a table, as we had purchased some deli food in a busy mall and there was literally no where to sit. We ended up eating standing up by the condiments station. (The food was so good!) As we were finishing, I noticed a young native New Yorker who had just ordered his food walk up to a table (that was just sitting there talking, clearly finished) and asking if they were done. They said, oh, yes, and he got the table.

He asked specifically, while we just "hoped" a table would empty.

“The squeeky wheel gets the grease.”

Like it or not, you and I live in a world where action and forwardness get results. The customer who frequently reminds the business of their issue, or their needs, gets attention. While the person who got less than great service, but who doesn’t want to appear greedy or ungrateful, says nothing...and gets nothing.

I often tell clients who say they don’t want to bother me...to bother me! I can’t know they need something or want something or have a concern unless they say so.

In a similar way, I have no idea if you are needing help with your talents somewhere out there in the world if you never email, call, or somehow get in touch. It takes action to get things going people.

Now I’m not saying that we need to be jerks to get our art out there. But we do need to be aggressive and forward, which can be done without being a jerk or bothersome. It just takes consistency, focus, and simply specifically asking for what we want.

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours..” - Henry David Thoreau

Have a great week!


For the Creative Soul is a service of Cre8iv Entertainment, Inc., a multi-faceted creative, action-oriented company that focuses on educating, creating, producing, and marketing creatives for success. We’re working, want to get working too?

Find out more about us at cre8iv.com or find your creative direction below.

Christian/Gospel Ministry and Music - CreativeSoulOnline.com
Jazz Recording and Career - CreativeSoulJazz.com
Positive Music for Film/TV/Advertising - PositiveSpinSongs.com
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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