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!

Monday, January 06, 2020

How Real Change Begins

“A new day begins when I wake up, not at midnight. Midnight means nothing to me. It’s not a turning point. Nothing changes at that moment. A new year begins when there’s a memorable change in my life. Not January 1st. Nothing changes on January 1st.” - Derek Sivers

As we look out on a new year (and a new decade!) it is usually a time to think about change. What are your goals for this year? What things have you wanted to do in your life and 2020 is the time you want to go after them?

I read a good blog post recently from Derek Sivers (and you should be reading his blog and listening to his short podcasts.) And in it he says that change doesn’t begin on January 1, it begins when we start something new. Change begins when we pursue a new project, learn a new craft, move towards an experience that will grow us.

“Your year really begins when you move to a new home, start school, quit a job, have a big breakup, have a baby, quit a bad habit, start a new project, or whatever else. Those are the real memorable turning points — where one day is very different than the day before. Those are the meaningful markers of time. Those are your real new years.” - Derek Sivers

Change Your Life with a New Project

Sometimes the best way to live your dream is to dive right into it. Find someone who can lead you through a new creative project, whether it’s building something, creating a new piece of art, or recording and marketing a new single or group of songs. Just going through the process can bring about great change and learning in your craft. It can lead to an entirely new life and body of work.

Often, we wait for years to finally step out and into the life we always wanted. In order to really make a change this year, start a new project.

“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” - Pablo Picasso

Change Begins with Learning

Maybe you are more interested in learning an artistic or creative skill. Perhaps you want to learn to play piano or keyboards for your local church, or write music, or learn more about sound or theory. You are never too old to learn new things. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to pursue a degree in music or art, but it could. The more likely way is to find a teacher who can help you learn what YOU need to learn.

An important point here is to learn what will be useful in your daily creative life, and what will grow you. In order to make a change this year, consider lessons and learning from someone better than you.

“Experience is the teacher of all things.” - Julius Caesar

Change with New Experiences

Both of the things above can lead to new experiences that you never had before, were never offered before, or just maybe never thought could happen to you. What if you were invited to Nashville to work on your music? What if you had a seasoned producer or composer or arranger or player who wanted to help bring out the music in you? What if you had a teacher or mentor that would work with you weekly, wherever you are, to help you move into uncharted territory creatively? Something that doesn’t exist around your local area?

These are the things that really start a new change in your life. Not some “resolution” that you’ll never keep. But truly getting started on something new.

Have a great year, and I hope it’s full of creative change and betterment!

EC

John Eric Copeland is a composer, author, arranger, and lots of other things. This year he is looking for creative projects and commissions in music (from jazz to classical to gospel), and offering individual weekly music and creative lessons for all ages.

Find out more about music projects here: CreativeSoulOnline.com

Find out more about music lessons here: EricCopelandMusic.com

Monday, December 02, 2019

Embrace the Unique YOU!

"The more you are like yourself, the less you are like anyone else, which makes you unique."- Walt Disney
I listened to a great podcast recently that I will reference in the comments below. But the mantra was “Don’t be better, be different...because different is better than better.”

I thought this was genius.

One of the most common mistakes people make is tying to be like an artist that already exists, then wondering why the world doesn’t react to another version of that artist?

We need to quit trying to outdo the next person at what we are trying to do, and do something different. Do that voodoo that only YOU do so well. Be weird. Be unique. Be YOU.
"Different is almost always better than better. In any field—business, academia, athletics—the individuals and organizations who stand out are those brave enough to pave their own way. To go in a direction few have gone before and wait for the world to catch up."- Jeff Goins
Recently I have seen this again pop up in a class I’ve been taking on orchestration. I was trying my best to just be “musical and classical” and do what the instructions said. I got the homework done but it was pretty much what was expected, and nothing to speak of (and the grades were...meh.)

But I realized that I was not attacking these assignments like I would creative tasks I have in my business and personal projects. So, I started to think outside the box and be the silly, off-kilter, outside the lines arranger I usually am. And guess what...the pieces not only became something better, they became something I was passionate about and proud of.

Another grad student has his own unique style, and also infused it in his final arrangement. It was weird, and sometimes not strictly “classical”, but it was very cool, and very HIM. It stood out.

You may not be the singer, or songwriter, or artist you admire. And most likely, you will likely never be better than them. But you can be something they will never be: You. The unique, one of a kind, different thing God made you.

This next year, make a vow to do YOU.

Be as different as you can and whatever God made you. This will always be the key to your success.

It has been for me.
"Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary." - Cecil Beaton
Have a great week!

EC

John Eric Copeland is a composer, arranger, and producer and you can find out more about his creative projects, thoughts, and companies at cre8iv.com

To hear the newest music creations (including the arrangement mentioned above, go to EricCopelandMusic.com

Ready to start a unique Christian music brand, contact us at CreativeSoulOnline.com

Do another kind of music like Jazz, Classical, World, or something else?
We can help you start a new project and brand that’s unique, different, and you! Contact us at CreativeSoulLegacy.com and let’s build your unique creative brand and leave your mark on this world!

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

The Ones Who Will

“Where there is a will, there is a way. If there is a chance in a million that you can do something, anything, to keep what you want from ending, do it. Pry the door open or, if need be, wedge your foot in that door and keep it open.” - Pauline Kael

Whether it’s with artists, creators (composers, songwriters, authors, etc), clients of any kind, those finishing degrees, or volunteers at churches and other places in music, I see the same thing. There are ones who will (do their creative thing with a passion and focus as I do), and those who...might.

Here’s a few examples:

The Happy Volunteer Creative

These are people who help at church or other places, give of their time because they can play an instrument or sing, and are happy doing only that. They have no delusions of grandeur, or are smart enough to know better. They enjoy playing or singing as a part-time hobby, and enjoy being part of a group. These could be anything from worship band members to a few doctors and lawyers who get together to jam in a garage. They do it because it’s fun, they love it, and don’t expect much more from it besides the occasional gig or Sunday service. I have no problem with this and actually depend on people like this every week.

The “Oh That Would Cool” Creative

This person honestly thinks a life as a creative would be very cool. Perhaps their parents or spouse are nudging them to find something, anything to do with their lives and this person has shown interest in being creative, or have been creative. These folks go through the motions in school, or at church, or in life looking at creative degrees, or creative possibilities. It seems...fun, I guess. But eventually it is no more than a temporary pursuit. Maybe they do pursue a job or degree in a creative area, but eventually it gets hard to find work, and they just get a real job doing something else because it pays and they move on.

The Creative Who Dabbles

I’ve written a whole post on this one. This is the true creative who in their spare time works on a creative thing. They write some songs, or draw, or paint, or act, or dance. They have the talent to do well, but they either do a little of everything and never focus their energies on anything serious, or they just dabble when the mood strikes. There’s no harm in this, but it really never leads to anything.

The Creative With No Proof

I often I meet people who say they are singers, songwriters, authors, photographers, or other types of creatives. They tell me how they long to sing, get published, get work, and live a creative life. Then I ask: Do you have any recordings or a portfolio I could hear or see? No. Are you singing or performing anywhere or else wise doing anything related to your creative craft that I could see? No. Do you have a website, or is your work on Instagram, YouTube, or at least Facebook? No. Then how exactly is the world supposed to know you have this creative talent, buy your art, experience what you are doing?

The True Creative Who Would If...

These are creatives who work hard on a daily or weekly basis on their craft. They may have sung any gig that came along, or written a few to a hundred songs, or painted or wrote stories, but it’s always been about “if”. If the right person heard them they would put all their energies into it. If someone came along and funded them they could really take off. If someone would finally recognize their genius they could and would really focus on their craft.

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” - Walt Disney

The True Creative Who WILL

These are the people who are like me. And to be honest, at some point they (and I) have been one or more of the people above. But the ones who will are the ones who DO. They don’t just happily volunteer only. They don’t think it would be cool and give it a try halfheartedly because someone prods them to at least do something. They don’t just dabble when the mood strikes. They get a Facebook, Instagram, and/or YouTube and start putting work up immediately to get feedback and build an audience. They don’t wait for the money, or the time, or to be told they can.

The true creatives, the ones who WILL be seen/heard, and WILL find an audience...these people get out there and get it going. They continually focus and point themselves in a direction to get their life’s work seen and/or heard. They seek out like-minded partners, mentors, consultants, producers, musicians, and people who they can work with to get where they want to go. And they never, ever quit. Repeat: They don't quit...because for reasons beyond their control or knowledge, they just can't stop!

Some creatives WILL by pursuing a music degree that can set them up to teach, or build relationships for future performance or composition opportunity. Some creatives WILL by finding that person who can help them reach the next level in whatever creative industry or audience they are focusing their art towards. Some creatives WILL by making their own brand and working it with nothing but YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.

But true creatives who find success simple WILL where other’s won’t.

Will you?

“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

Have a great week!

EC

Eric Copeland is a full-time creator who creates his own work and WILL get every composition, idea, and project in his head out to the public in his lifetime. He is also available to help any creative who WILL through his Cre8iv Entertainment Companies like Creative Soul Records, Positive Spin Songs, and other brands. Find out more at Cre8iv.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