Monday, March 22, 2021

Create. Market. Repeat.

As composers, artists, or whatever type of creative you may be, the most challenging thing in finding success is finding the time to do your thing, laser focus to get it done right, and then getting to the ears and eyes that can help your creative career move forward.

The task seems daunting. How do you beat distraction, still make a living, but yet make and get your music out to the world to those who need to hear it so it makes a difference and maybe even brings income?

Create

First you must create your art. This may sound simple, but consistently composing, recording, and preparing your music is key and challenging. This goes for any creative element you may be making. Create. Every. Day. Every. Week.

Maybe you are just making lists of creative ideas, or organizing your creative goals, or planning. Or you are actively creating and putting down ideas in your notebook, computer, or wherever.

The next step is producing those ideas so people can experience them. Producing just means making it for someone else other than you to see or hear. This can be done simply for you to have a recording or to remember it, or it could mean making a final production ready for distribution out to the world.

The key to this is to consistently create. Sit down, make the thing. Then move on to the next one. Or move on to the next thing that we’re talking about here:

Market

This seems like a dirty business word doesn’t it? Marketing. Advertising. Pitching. Yuck. That sounds like a lot of work and not very fun or creative. But if you are hoping to have any success with your music or any creative thing, you HAVE to market it.

This can be as easy as playing a new song for someone in your house, or it could be as daunting as showing off the work at a show in front of real live people. It could mean pitching it to publishers, libraries, labels, or people who can get something happening with what you have made. Or maybe you can make an online channel for your music or art and place it there as you finish each one.

Regardless of how you market, you MUST market if your goal is to make something of your craft. What if you were a great electrician but ever applied for a job as one? Or if you naturally were good with numbers or even a trained mathematician, but never even tried to get a teaching or job that uses math? (Obviously, I am not a mathematician and don't know what they might do!)

Being a creative is no different. Do you know how many people wish they could play guitar or compose a song? Don’t you think if they could they would do it and shout it from the mountaintops?

Repeat

So in the last two sections I just gave you all you need to be successful as a creative. Make the darn thing, and present the thing to the world. Make it with your phone camera, use an app, use your computer, write it on paper, whatever. Then show someone in the biggest way you can or feel comfortable. Show it to friends and family in person or on Facebook. Make a YouTube channel and build a weekly following. Get out in front of audiences and speak to them with your art. Take your song and pitch it to the someone who can get it on a TV show, movies, or make money commercially.

And repeat.

Being a creative means creating then showing, and after that, creating then showing, and then...well you get the idea.

But only YOU can make this happen, because no one else is you and will do it for you.

Have a great week!

EC
Eric Copeland is a composer, arranger, and producer who creates every day and also focuses on unique ways to get his art out there. If you need help getting your music out there in any of the ways above and need a partner in your creative pursuits, check out CreativeSoulOnline.com

We are also getting very busy showing works to libraries and companies that need music for television, film, advertising, and more. We need partners with these new publishers and companies that are accepting our music. If this sounds interested to you, contact Eric at PositiveSpinSongs@gmail.com

Let’s get to work! 

Monday, March 08, 2021

Money and Time

The two things no one ever seems to have in the pursuit of their art is money and time, but guess what? You actually have both, and they may be right under your nose.

The Money Issue
"Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver." - Ayn Rand
How many times have you asked, “How in the world can I quit my job in order to do my creative thing full-time?”

Or how about this one, “If only I could find someone who believed in my music or the art I create who would pay for me to create?”

We’re almost there. Then you get desperate and say, “I don’t even care if I make money at it or am ever famous, God, I just wish I could create without worrying where the money’s going to come from to pay my bills.”

So, let’s get this straight, you want to focus on creating, you want money to pursue your art, and you are willing to give up getting rich off your creative pursuits just to do them all the time?

Well, here’s how to do this exact thing. Step by Step. Follow along won’t you...?

You already have the income source.

Let’s assume you have a job, and you don’t absolutely hate it. You may even like it. Perhaps it is even another passion. 

Hey you wanted someone who believes in what you do, who else better than YOU? And, there will never be someone who you (hopefully) completely control and can subjugate like yourself. 

Now, of course this assumes you make enough to pay your bills and can put some toward your music. At any point it becomes how good are you at your finances, and can you sacrifice in some areas (usually entertainment and personal purchases) and put that money towards creating?

But let’s assume you can. Boom! You can quit waiting for your creating to make it’s own income and just enjoy creating. If it makes something, great!

This goes for retirement too. If you plan correctly, and work all your life, you should have social security and savings to spend all your time after age 62-67 creating if you want to.

The Time Issue
"Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you." Carl Sandburg
Once you’ve decided that you will be your own income source (or perhaps you and your spouse are of one accord on this, and good luck with that!), the next step is time management.

To me this has become the most important thing about using my income to fund my personal creative projects.

It’s easy to spend the few hours you have not doing your job doing other things like eating, sleeping, hanging with family or friends, video games, TV watching, etc.

But the real secret to creative success and income, which is nothing new in my advice to creatives for over 15 years, is to carve out time for your music, art, or whatever creative thing you do.

Yes, you absolutely have to schedule your creative life. There is no other answer. You have to literally divide up and choose the hours you will spend focusing on the things that are important to you. Priorities should be in this order: God, Family, Work (and Work can mean work for income and creative work.) 

How do you balance all these? This is the real challenge. 

If you are married, there must be agreement that your creating is important. If there is not, then you have problems this post can’t solve.

You also have to put in the hours at your job, because that is your main income source to live AND do your creating.

Literally make a schedule.

I’m a big believer in notes, lists, journals, and writing down goals and timelines. If you don’t write it down, and work to follow the schedule, you may not get it done.

Making to-do lists is my secret weapon to doing all the creative things I do for clients and my own projects. And working that to-do list every day is crucial to making this all work. Check out the app Evernote, use a journal, or find some other app or program to help.

Find a partner.

This may be your spouse. It may be a parent or best friend. It may be a pastoral friend or mentor. It may be a person you hire like a coach or contractor who works to help creatives (maybe someone who, I don’t know...keeps a lot of lists and writes blogs?)

You may only need this person occasionally to keep you on track, or you may need to consult with them weekly. 

The key is, now that you have a dedicated income source, the time and schedule set, it’s time to get serious on the creative life you’ve always dreamed of. 

It’s time to stop wishing, and hedging, and complaining, and get to work doing the creative thing God gave you to do on this earth.

Have a great week!

EC
Eric Copeland is a composer, arranger, producer, and maker of many creative things. But he does so because he has another jobs - including helping creatives make and market things. 

If you are a music artist needing help developing your music and brand, including Nashville recording, and marketing to the world, check out http://www.CreativeSoulOnline.com

If you are a songwriter or composer, we have a special program through our publishing company FromtheMomentMusic.com to help you find success and develop your path as a working songwriter or composer.

Monday, February 01, 2021

Anything is Possible!

This week one of our bands debuted a new songs called "Anything is Possible" and it got me thinking, this is something that all creatives need to believe more in.

While All Together United's song comes from more of a Biblical inspirational source (Matt 19:26), in this post I want to talk about the fact that we focus so much on what we can't do, that we never take the leap to what we could do!

"It is difficult to say what is impossible, for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow." - Robert H. Goddard

Don't Be Afraid to Dream

This is actually the first step. You have to be able to dream...to think outside of what you have always thought was possible. Once you dream of what could happen with your music, your art, or your life, you can investigate the reality of that dream.

What are the action steps from where you are right now? 

"Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible." - Francis of Assisi

Do What You Need To

Sometimes you have to just do what you have to do. This may be work, school, or relationships. This is stuff you have to do to pay the bills, achieve your next steps, have a good relationshops, or be a good parent. This is "have to".

But what else is at least possible right now? Can you surf the web for info on what you feel would be impossible for you to do? Maybe just while vegging on the couch watching TV you find some info that could be possible. When you find what you thought was impossible could actually be doable, things get interesting!

"In order to attain the impossible, one must attempt the absurd." - Miguel de Cervantes

It May Sound Crazy But...

This is basically how I start many conversations...LOL. Seriously, some of the best ideas are the craziest, most absurd things you could think of. But no one became what they dreamed of without what some would call a foolish pursuit. Even the most talented singer is advised not to go into music as a career. It's just not a smart buisness move, they say. 

My Dad believed in my music more than anyone, and he still convinced me to start college as a business major. Dumb. Sorry Dave, but that was a dumb idea. It's obvious now, but getting a music degree early would have been more helpful than the years of classes I took running away from organized music school and "a music life that wouldn't pay well."

Was I crazy to think I could be a songwriter for a living? I had been writing songs since I was 13, but the staid advice is always to do something more expected and safe. 

"The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a man's determination." - Tommy Lasorda

You Are the Determining Factor

Whether you achieve the impossible or not is up to you and no one else. I can teach people how to be creative, how to record music, how to market it, etc. What I can't teach is desire and determination. You have to want it more than anyone else. If you don't, then you'll never achieve what seems to be impossible. 

I have seen so many artists and songwriters through the years become really successful in their goals by sheer will and dogged determination. Talent is overrated, but hard work is not.

Is Anything Possible?

Well, you may not be able to start flapping your wings and fly...but if you had a jet pack...

This post is just to encourage you to start where you are, think of an impossible thing, and then re-work it to how it could be possible.

"Alice laughed: "There's no use trying," she said; "one can't believe impossible things." "I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."

Have a great week!

EC
--

Eric Copeland is a composer, arranger, and president of Cre8iv Entertainment, Inc. He works with other composers, artists, and songwriters through his companies Creative Soul Records, Positive Spin Songs, and more.

Find out more at http://www.CreativeSoulOnline.com


Friday, January 01, 2021

Creative Souls Still Thrive!

So Creatives, we start this year in a precarious yet interesting place. Surely this coming year has to be better than last year, right? But that’s not the only reason to be optimistic about your creative work in 2021.

Guess what? Through all the craziness of last year. The Pandemic. The Election. Shutdowns. Lock downs. Closures.

Still creativity came.

Like Christmas in Whoville after the Grinch took everything...creativity still happened.

Through all the madness, we worked with brave creatives who made music and art, EPs, CDs, DVDs, singles, videos, and more. We had people who dealt with illness, death, job loss, no live performing, and uncertain income, and they were still able to do great things with their music, their ministry, and their art.

Even if 2020 prevented you from doing what you wanted to do creatively, you can take heart that the new year, as always, provides a spark of hope. This may be known as the “post-pandemic” year. The rebound year that you can do what it is that is in your heart to do.

You got through perhaps the hardest year the world has ever known, including wartime. Take courage and heart in that.

Stay vigilant. Stay safe. But above all, stay creative and positive.

Don’t be afraid to dream, to plan, and to create. The world needs your creations more than ever as we rebuild from this hard , crazy time.

This coming year can be the year that you not just survive, but you thrive!

Please let us know if we can help in any way.

Have a great year!

EC

Eric Copeland is a composer, arranger, and producer working with brave creatives just like you. If you are ready to thrive in 2021, get in touch below and bravely step forward into this new year.

Creative Soul Records Currently looking for new artists in all genres. CreativeSoulOnline.com

Positive Spin Songs Looking for artists, songwriters, and partners in music for television, film, advertising and more. PositiveSpinSongs.com

Or just email Eric directly at ec@cre8iv.com

Monday, December 07, 2020

Get It Done!

So, you’ve waited all year. 

This was going to be the year to get that song done, that project done. But then...COVID, or work, or whatever else happened.

But, there is still time to get moving on what you felt you needed to do creatively in 2020.

No Time Like the Present

Yes, during a pandemic! Yes, during the holidays. Get. It. Done.

“Procrastination is the thief of time.” - Edward Young

You can keep waiting, and wake up and realize you never got that song done, or recorded that single, or even sent an email that could change the direction of your life.

The pandemic has given us all great excuses on why we don’t pursue our dreams. But college students, artists, writers, and virtually everyone else has found a way to keep doing what they need to do to move forward. (I’ll spare you the Walt Disney “keep moving forward” quote. But keep moving forward!!)

Reach Out

The first move is the easiest. It’s a dang email. It’s a call. It’s making a date at the studio.

Representatives are standing by!

Seriously, has there ever been a time to not only get work done yourself, but also give business to those who can help you?

Go through old emails, do internet searches for producers or publishers or whoever is who you need to help you. Then get in touch!

Put Forth the Effort

It’s turning on the computer, or keyboard, getting out the guitar, turning the page to an empty canvas, or stretching to practice your dance fundamentals, or making a video of what you do.

Make something happen by working on it.

Even one new song idea, one new drawing started, one new dance move, one new chapter on that book. Just ONE thing done can make a difference when you can look back at this wretched year and say, “I still moved forward. Despite a worldwide real-life sci-fi nightmare, I created. I made progress!”

Change Lanes

Been a music artist for a long time and not seeing the results? Maybe it’s time to focus on songs that can bring real return.

Conversely, maybe you’ve only written songs and would like to explore your artist side? It’s possible, at any age, to build that artist brand and let the world see it.

Ever thought you’d rather be part of the business side of music? Maybe it’s time to step over into the executive producer and publishing side of music. This is a way to be part of the creative process and find income and return.

Ending the Year Strong

As I write this, it’s the beginning of December. That means I have just under a month and a few days to get more done this year. More songs, more contacts, more projects finished up (or dreamed up!)

I plan to use that time. How about you?

"For last year's words belong to last year's language and next year's words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning." - T.S. Eliot

Have a great rest of the year!

EC

Eric Copeland is a composer and lifelong creative who, even in a pandemic year, just finsihed a graduate recital for a master’s in composition, re-ignited a music company providing music for film and TV libraries, and works weekly for 20+ artists, songwriters, and other creatives helping them keep creating and moving forward during all this. All this was done in the pandemic-laden, terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year of 2020.

Consider contacting one of our companies below to keep moving this year and into 2021!

Positive Spin Songs. A publisher of all styles of positive focused music for film, TV, ads, gaming, and more. Email us at PositiveSpinSongs@gmail.com

Creative Soul Records. A music company that helps artists of all genres find their path, produce amazing music in Nashville, and then help then market their brand to the world. Email us CreativeSoulRecords@gmail.com or go to CreativeSoulOnline.com

Need help in another creative area? Email Eric at ec@cre8iv.com

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?

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