Probably the biggest hurdle that creative folks have to deal with
Now everyone will say they don't need to be famous. Especially in
Christian music, artistic endeavors for the church, or just satisfying
our creative souls, we like to think we're doing it for the "right"
reasons. But there is always that little "what if" in the back of our
minds. That little voice that says, "what if this becomes BIG!!!"
Some nights laying wide awake in bed, or during the day driving to
work in the car, we allow ourselves to daydream a bit and
think..."What if somebody really likes this, or it becomes the next
Myspace/Youtube/NextThing sensation and millions of people love it,
and I get a big deal with a really large..." Then your spouse turns
over, or the light turns green, and we're back to the real world. And
the real world kind of depresses us a bit more as if penalizing us for
being so silly. Why? We were just feeling the effects of the Fame
Every now and then I find a new book on Creativity, and recently have
found a whopper: "The
Artists Way: A
Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity" by Julia Cameron.
Here's what she says about the Fame Drug:
"Fame is a spiritual drug. It is often a by-product of our artistic
work, but like nuclear waste, it can be a very dangerous
by-product...The point of the work IS the work. Fame interferes with
that perception. Instead of acting being about acting, it becomes
about being a famous actor. Instead of writing being about writing, it
becomes about being recognized, not just published.
"We all like credit where credit is due. As artists, we don't always
get it. Yet, focusing on fame--on whether we are getting
enough--creates a continuing feeling of lack. There is never enough of
the fame drug. Wanting more will always snap at our heels, discredit
our accomplishments, and erode our joy at other's accomplishments.
"To test this, read any of the many fan magazines--People (or CCM) for
instance--and see if afterward your life somehow feels more shabby,
less worthwhile. This is the fame drug at work."
I have seen this devastate many artists. Working hard to write and
make a new CD, get it out there, and try to promote it. Only to see
other (seemingly less talented or deserving) artists make it big with
crap. Here they are selling junk by the millions, and you're lucky if
somebody buys a CD from your website each MONTH!
Then there is American Idol (so aptly named), and all the other talent
contest "reality" shows that just make the fame drug more and more
potent. The sad thing is, I have seen the fame drug really zap
artists and ministries that were at one time on FIRE for the Lord.
They feel that no one is listening, or interested. Certainly not like
people are in MWS, SCC, POD, or other three letter success stories.
I've felt this way as a jazz artist and songwriter. While I've found
steady work as a producer and general cheerleader for creative types,
my original (and current) dreams are much like most of my artists: to
find an audience for my particular brand of creative passions.
And it has been a long road. The times I've felt the lowest are when
either I didn't get the "deal" I was hoping for, or I saw other
amazing artists in the place where I dreamed of being Bruce Hornsby (I
think lives my dream life and may in fact have stolen it from me. Not
Of course, most of my idols are jazz guys, and have practiced
intensely each day since they were 5 (unlike me who played only what i
wanted to play, then just hit the transpose button and hired great
players to do the rest!) So, it's more about roads not taken, but
still it can be discouraging to feel like "wow, they are WAY down the
road, and I'm still right here..."
But again, that's the fame drug talking. We're completely missing the
point. And again takes us back to where most of my rants bring us to.
We have to get back to what we love to do. We have to get to the
simple act of creating and loving it to truly find happiness in the
gift God gave us.
More from "The Artist's Way":
"When the fame drug hits go to your easel, your typewriter, your
camera or clay (or piano or guitar). Pick up the tools of your work
and begin to do just a little creative play. Soon, very soon, the fame
drug should start to lessen it's hold. The only cure for the fame drug
is creative endeavor. Only when we are being joyfully creative can we
release the obsession with others and how THEY are doing."
Wow. When I read this I RAN to the computer to type this to you guys.
I know this to be true with all my heart. Recently I have been working
on some new CDs of my own that have been in process for quite some
Working for clients, my job is to prepare them for the marketplace and
frankly, feed the fame drug. What we produce has to compete on the
shelves and on the radio waves. That's why clients come to me. But
this personal work of mine I have decided to do quite differently.
Yes, I'll work with players, sell the CDs on my site and try to find
outlets, but the bottom-line is it has to be a fun, relaxing,
fulfilling thing to do. I'm even mixing it. And I'm very happy with
So far, it's pretty amazing to do it this way. No pressure. No
worries. No fame drug. Just pure creative fulfillment. I may even
release CDs where no one is involved whatsoever except me.
Of course, as Christian artists we have the obvious reason not to SEEK
the fame of the world: 1 Corinthians 2:12 "We have not received
the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may
understand what God has freely given us."
1 John 2:16, 17- For everything in the world-the cravings of sinful
man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and
does-comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its
desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.
Here's a few more great quotes about fame.
"Happy is the man who hath never known what it is to taste of fame
--to have it is a purgatory, to want it is a Hell!"
-- Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton
"Throughout my life, I have seen narrow-shouldered men, without a
single exception, committing innumerable stupid acts, brutalizing
their fellows and perverting souls by all means. They call the motive
for their actions fame."-- Isidore Ducasse, Comte De Lautreamont
"Now there is fame! Of all -- hunger, misery, the incomprehension by
the public -- fame is by far the worst. It is the castigation of God
by the artist. It is sad. It is true."
-- Pablo Picasso
"Fame has also this great drawback, that if we pursue it, we must
direct our lives so as to please the fancy of men." -- Baruch Benedict de Spinoza
This week, try letting go of your fame addiction a little (yes, you
have one to some degree). Tune out the web, TV, magazine, and just
Eric Copeland is only famous in his own mind, and other very, very
small niches. He did eat at Famous Daves the other day however. His
company Creative Soul develops amazing, imaginative materials for
Christian and jazz folks on a daily basis, with a fair modicum of
success. Check out
http://www.creativesoulonline.com for more info...
email@example.com Phone: 615-400-3910