Do you ever feel like your entire creative career is a long, arduous journey to nowhere? That no matter how hard you try, all the work, all the pain, and all the money spent is just wasted on deaf ears, blind eyes, and a world that just doesn’t care about your art?
It’s a creative person’s lot. We’re writing each word, painting each stroke, and singing each note hoping someone will be moved. We have been told that our art is important, because we have been moved by other art, and seen it celebrated. And so we labor to create and offer it to the world looking for acceptance and affirmation that this is what we should be doing.
But sometimes it seems like in the end the answer is just going to be a very slow “no”. A long life of hearing no at every turn in regard to our creative passion.
So how do you turn that around? How do you defeat “The Slow No”?
Keep working towards excellence.
“If you deliver excellence right now, that gives you the best shot at the best future you’ve got coming.” – Robert Forster
One thing that I see consistently from people who are hearing no often is underdeveloped art. They have just put out whatever they can, often without anyone’s help. Their demos and recordings are of very low quality. While that is not necessarily their own fault, you only get one chance to make a good impression sometimes. My early work was not what people were looking for. Only when I upped the quality in both equipment, personnel, experience, and plain old getting better did I start to hear yes.
Yes, it can be a lot of work, and there can be expense. But we all invest in the things we want to. That can be a new flat-screen TV , a gaming system, or even a new car we pay humongous payments on. We choose what we want to spend our money on, and what we want to focus our energies on. Using your time and money towards excellence is almost never a waste, and certainly can make the difference on how people perceive you.
Love what you do (or stop doing it).
“I think people who are creative are the luckiest people on earth. I know that there are no shortcuts, but you must keep your faith in something Greater than You, and keep doing what you love. Do what you love, and you will find the way to get it out to the world.” – Judy Collins
Word of warning creatives: you better do this because you love it, not because you’re waiting to be heaped with praise. If you feel like the you are hearing “no” too much, and there’s other things you think you could do, then maybe you should go there.
I’ll admit, I thought I was going to be a songwriter in Nashville or LA. I thought someone would recognize my genius for songwriting, but I kept hearing “no”. Eventually I began to see that leading, producing, and guiding artists and songwriters was my greater call. Even though Creative Soul maybe became more successful than Eric Copeland, I still write and put out my own stuff because I love it. And I always will.
Know God would never discourage you.
Many people ask me all the time that if they aren’t having success quickly should they consider it a sign from God? I ask them, “Do you really think God doesn’t want you serving, praising, or ministering to others in His name?”
We all have choices to make with the talents God gave us. Many times it’s the lack of our own work we have done to get things where they need to be. But don’t blame God.
“Disappointment is inevitable. But to become discouraged, there’s a choice I make. God would never discourage me. He would always point me to himself to trust him. Therefore, my discouragement is from Satan. As you go through the emotions that we have, hostility is not from God, bitterness, unforgiveness, all of these are attacks from Satan.” – Charles Stanley
Examine your talents and know when to pivot.
I never saw “producing” coming. Sure I had seen the word “Producer” on albums as I examined them, but I always felt I would be the artist or songwriter, maybe keyboard player. But God has a way of using one step for the next one.
While I was busy writing songs and wondering why nothing was happening, I was doing other jobs in graphic design, technical writing, web development, video, and multimedia. Little did I know that all those things would be needed in my toolbox later in life when being a music producer and recording company for artists was the job that supported my family.
Find better help than you ever have.
I say this one a lot, but it was true for me and everyone else who got better. Find better people to work with and quit trying to do everything yourself. If you tried working with someone and still heard no, maybe it wasn’t the right person.
If you have heard “no” for years, maybe it’s time to go work with someone who will help turn “no” into “yes.”
“When your dream is bigger than you are, you only have two choices: give up or get help.” – John C. Maxwell
Have a great week!
Eric Copeland has heard “NO” his whole life. And that’s probably why you are reading this now! if you feel you’re ready to turn NO into YES with your creative ventures, then maybe it’s time you talk to someone who made that happen in real life, and makes it happen every year for many artists and songwriters. We can help you move to the level and quality you need. Contact us and let’s get talking!