Sunday, March 2, 2014

Your Influence Could Be Epic

Creative-types create because we must. An internal force builds until we spew forth art, stories, songs, et cetera. Though wrought in the individual imagination, the creation is heavily influenced by natural ability, education, practice and the sundry influence to which we have been steadily exposed. Then when polished, edited or digitally mastered, the creation is presented. The artist’s hope is that the work will have influence; the scope of that influence unknown, but envisioned nonetheless. Some godless works garner influence of massive proportion. Some God-glorifying works are never known outside the artist’s inner circle. C’est la vie.

A singer/songwriter once told me that more than a decade after making an album (that sold dozens of copies), a man wrote him saying his car had been broken into and his CD player stolen with that particular CD inside it. The man said he had searched for another copy of this CD because the songs had touched his life and meant so much to him. The singer dug the CD out of a dusty box in storage and mailed it to his fan immediately.

An actress once told me about rearranging her whole life to take a movie part, thinking it would boost her career. After a lot of personal investment, her part was reduced, the scenes later cut, and the movie tanked. But while on set she had been able to help a member of the crew through a life-changing ordeal.

Was the expensively self-produced CD made for one man? Were the actress’s efforts for the benefit of one non-famous person? Am I writing novels for my friends? Quite possibly!

I’m a writer and a musician. Most of my friends are writers and/or musicians. We are all creating something, which we are told we must sell. To sell, we must promote. To energize these efforts, sometimes we must imagine the influence will be epic. The truth is: our sphere of influence will remain within the boundaries God set around our lives before we were born. Take that as neither an excuse to give up your art nor a call to quit your day job, but as a fact to consider when you create. Not a creative type? Look away from your screen and glance at the faces of the people in the room—they are your sphere of influence. No one around at the moment? You have people in your life. You know who they are. Did they just catch the school bus, clock out for the day, sign off chat? That is your sphere of influence. Show them they matter. It will be epic.

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