Episode #111: Fulfilling Your Creative Mission


Are you having writers block? You just can’t figure out what the song is supposed to be about or what goes with that great riff you’ve had forever? It’d be great if the answer just magically fell out of the sky, making it so easy everyone could do it, but we know that’s just not the way it is!

Creativity comes from relentless hard work. You keep trying new ideas until… Boom! There it is! It’s perfect! Nothing else will do! It only took 99 other horrible ideas but the 100th one is just the cats pajamas and makes it all worth while. As C.J. puts it so simply and unequivocally, “Creativity doesn’t come from inspiration, it comes from perspiration.” Again, it’s not going to be easy, but it will be worth it. So tune in to what C.J does best, motivating you to achieve your full potential and creative ability through daily hard work, and explode your creativity with this weeks episode of the Savvy Musician Show.

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Fulfilling your creative purpose in life
  • Perspiration not inspiration
  • Your ideal workspace
  • Everything starts as a demo
  • Achieving more output
  • Disciplining yourself for daily work
  • Feeding your creative process


“The secret to creativity is not inspiration, it’s perspiration… Perspiration is what gives birth to inspiration.” – @metalmotivation [0:08:26]

This is the creative process. It’s not Hollywood. It’s a crucible of relentless, persistent problem solving, where you turn yourself inside out in order to make a… riff into a killer song.” – @metalmotivation [0:14:26]

“You’re as capable as anyone to go beyond your present output right now.” – @metalmotivation [0:14:46]

“How can you expect other people to appreciate your gifts, talents, and abilities if you’re not treating them well. How do you treat them well? By submitting them to the process of hard work.” – @metalmotivation [0:21:17]

“Be faithful to your musical mission, your calling, by working hard daily.” – @metalmotivation [0:23:58]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Instagram for Musicians — https://www.savvymusicianacademy.com/ig4m

The Online Musician 3.0 — https://explodeyourfanbase.com

Book a Call With Us — http://www.CallSMA.com

The Inner Circle — https:savvymusicianacademy.com/innercircle

Click For Full Transcript

00:21 CJ: Welcome to The Savvy Musician Show. This a CJ Ortiz. I’m the branding and mindset coach here at the Savvy Musician Academy. I hope you’re doing well. We are well into the year. What a crazy year this has been, but I hope you are on target. I hope you’re on course, man. I hope you’ve set a path, navigated something for you and your music business. Maybe you’ve been just listening to this podcast and that’s about all that you’ve dabbled in, in relation to the Savvy Musician Academy. I want to challenge you to go deeper though. I want to challenge you to join us. We’ve got so many great things happening right now.

For example, TOM 3.0 release just a couple of months ago, The Online Musician 3.0 so many people are getting so much out of it. Even our elite students, those who’ve already purchased the course have gone back into this new version to go through it again. That’s how important this information is. Lee has also just released Instagram For Musicians. I know that’s been a long awaited product, real teaching, effective teaching about how to move the needle forward in your music business on Instagram. So learn what to do with hashtags and what to post and when to post and creating promotions and working with your profile. And the pictures and the captions that you write. All the varied details of building a dedicated following on the Instagram platform. More and more people are having success on Instagram. And so this is something you don’t want to do without. Just visit savvymusicianacademy.com.IG4M.

But what I’ve got for you today is really, really special. I want to talk to you about creativity and the creative process. Creativity and the creative process. This is something that obviously you, as an artist feels like you know something about. That you’ve been creative. You’ve written songs, maybe you’ve drawn pictures or painted pictures. You’ve been creative before. And that’s your strength. Your strength is creativity, but why is it though that some of the most creative people can be sometimes the most self-destructive? Or why is it that sometimes the most creative people can often be the most self-defeating?

I’ve met so many creative people who are so unsure of themselves, so critical of themselves. So afraid of success, so afraid of being judged. And yet they have something to bring into the world, something to make the lives of others so much better. And yet they hold themselves back. My challenge to you is that you have a sacred duty. You have a sacred obligation to your creativity, a sacred obligation to fulfill your creative mission in life, to fulfill your creative purpose in life. Because where would we be without music? Where would we be without film? Where would we be without great stories? Where would we be without Shakespeare? Where would we be without all the wonderful things that creative people like you make every day.

You might say to yourself, “Well, CJ, that’s well and good, but I’m not Shakespeare. I’m not Steven Spielberg. I’m not Stephen King”, or whoever. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter, because you have something that you can deposit in the lives of other people, whether it’s one other person, or a million other people, or somewhere in-between. You have something to give. And all the evidence you need to know that that’s the case is the fact that one, you have the desire to create and write music. And number two, that you’ve done it in the past. That’s a simple way to look at finding your purpose in life. It’s a simple way to find your calling. A simple way to find direction in life is just to ask yourself the question. Do you have a true love and passion for music?

Number two, do you feel like you have a native ability to do it? And number three, do you feel like there are the resources and the path for you to follow, to get there? So it’s one thing to have a love of music and be creative, and you’re trapped on a desert Island somewhere never to be found to the day that you die. So you might have the ability, you might have the passion, but there’s no way to get there. But I think we can answer most of those questions. You do have a love of music. You do have an ability to do it. And there are resources and there are the paths that you can take to do that, to do something with your music.

If those three boxes can be checked off, then you don’t need a permission slip to take a chance on yourself by starting your own music career. You don’t need anyone’s permission. That’s all you need to know. That’s the universe giving you the official nod, that you can go and fulfill your purpose in life to create music. If you have a passion for it, an undying passion, if you have an ability for it, it’s proven. And if there are the resources and a path that you can take. Now you might figure, “Well, CJ, I’m not signed to a record label.” Well, you’re at the right place. The Savvy Musician Academy is the right place for you to be.

05:44 CJ: You don’t need a record label. Leah has shown you a path, a way that you can have your own music career, just because you want to, without touring without a record label. Doesn’t mean you can’t do those things But you can do them without them. That’s the important point. You are not isolated and there are resources. There are courses. There are things that you can learn to help you fulfill this mission, fulfill the vision of purpose that you’ve always had for your life. And not stand in your own way anymore. Not be the one blocking your way with self-defeat and self-doubt. Negotiating yourself out of your vision and dream. Talking yourself out of what you could potentially do with your life. Why would you do that? Why would you stand in your own way? Why would you talk yourself out of it? Why would you not be your own best friend, your biggest fan, your biggest coach?

Think about it, you’re wired to do this. And the other thing that we can talk about as it relates to creativity is there’s a sense in which things are waiting to be discovered. For example, there was a time in history when there was no technology, there was no art. There was nothing. There was trees and there was rocks and there was water and there was sky and there was birds. There was nothing else. There wasn’t a wheel, there, wasn’t a spear, there wasn’t anything. There was a time when that’s all there was. But think about this, go back way back then, and if you were to have a commercial jet airliner, could that plane have taken off even back then? Of course, because the laws that govern flight, thrust and lift, they existed back then, even though nobody had discovered them yet. So there was the potential for flight, the potential for cell phones, the potential for a great recipes, the potential for Shakespeare, the potential for film and television, all of those things were there waiting to be discovered. It just took time.

So how long has Romeo and Juliet been ready to be told? Well, it just took time before we got to the place where a man named Shakespeare banged on the universe long enough to pull out that story. You see, there’s a sense in which things are just waiting to be discovered. And that’s creativity. Real creativity is when you make something out of nothing. It’s when you use invisible means to create visible things. The secret to creativity is not inspiration, it’s perspiration. It’s wrestling with a problem until the universe spits out a solution. You see, that is what we call technology. Technology is not a cell phone, technology is not a computer. Those are simply manifestations of technology.

You see, the word technology is taken from the root word “techne”, and it’s a Greek term. And it means artisan, craftsman, an artisan. That’s what the word “techne” means. That’s why you call new technology, state-of-the-art technology is about art. So technology is not an end product, technology is a process. It is creating visible things through invisible means. Like I said, you can go back far enough in history and there were no planes. There were no cell phones. There was nothing. And now we live today where we have all of that and more.

So how did we get here? Did people discover cell phones under a rock through excavation? Did you pull laptop computers out of a tree? Did you have to unearth airplanes? Is that how we discovered them, like we discovered the tunes of Kings Tut? Absolutely not. These physical things were created by invisible means, by extracting the principles that create these things. That’s what did it, that process is technology. It’s creating visible things through invisible means. That’s creativity. That’s why the secret to creativity is not inspiration, but perspiration. It’s wrestling with a problem until that universe spits out a solution. It’s banging on the doors of reality, until ideas and creative solutions come forth.

10:37 CJ: See, people have romanticized the idea of inspiration, as if it’s some sort of magic muse that touches your mind when you least expect it. And you may have had a creative thought randomly strike your skull. But that’s usually after you’ve been thinking about the problem for some time. And developing that inspired idea into a completed project requires sweat and diligence. See, sometimes I get my most creative ideas, not necessarily when I’m trying, but when I’m not trying. As I think about something over and over and over and over again, I’m wrestling with it at my desk. Can’t get that breakthrough. Then I go wash the dishes. I go mow the lawn. I go vacuum the rug. And then what happens? All of a sudden, boom.

But it’s not that the creativity or inspiration invaded my mind from nowhere, it was preceded by arduous work. It was preceded by perspiration. Perspiration is what gives birth to inspiration. And then there’s the issue of time. If you just had enough time to get away to some remote location, then you’ll be hit with creativity like a lightning bolt, and make your masterpiece. Won’t happen, captain. It won’t happen. Creativity is forged in the furnace of a busy schedule and a crowded desk. There’s nothing romantic about it. It’s plain tough. You know, Stephen King, who I mentioned earlier, he wrote his first novel Carrie, in a double wide trailer, in his laundry room, a little tiny laundry room on a folding card table with an old typewriter while being an English teacher. That’s where he wrote that. So much for the creative space.

It takes work. See, only those unfamiliar with the creative process, they get creative when it comes to what it takes to make something great. So my objective here is to dispel the myth and shoot you up with a chemical blend of reality and blunt truth. And the truth about creativity is that the harder you work at what you do, the more creativity you’re going to find. The real secret is that nobody writes a completed song, or the perfect story at their first attempt. What they do first is what writers call a first draft. Or what artists will call a pencil sketch. Again, this is important. Nobody writes the perfect song, the perfect book, the perfect anything on the first draft. They do numerous drafts. That’s why this called a first draft. It’s what you call a pencil sketch. It’s where great ideas for buildings and whatever begin with a pencil sketch.

You just empty yourself on paper, or your instruments. Don’t worry about how good it is. Just get it down. Put it on your phone, record it, just get it down somewhere and then work on it. Go over it repeatedly, making refinements with each pass and then walk away from it. Because when you come back after a few days, you’re going to see flaws, or ways that you can improve it and then refine it even more. And before you know it, that thing will be bulletproof. So much so that others after hearing it will say, “It was meant to be.” Michael Jackson used to say that sometimes it feels like the songs write themselves. The great statue makers of the Renaissance would say that when they look at a piece of stone or marble, they just take away what doesn’t belong there. And the image comes out of it. There’s something very magical, if I can use that term about creativity.

But it’s matched with the effort to bang on the universe. To work hard, to knock, and to look and to pursue. And to sweat and to go over these things again and again and again, until they become better and better and better. This is the creative process. It’s not Hollywood. It’s a crucible of relentless, persistent problem solving, where you turn yourself inside out in order to make a sketch into a masterpiece, or a riff into a killer song. You’re as capable anyone to go beyond your present output right now. You’re capable. You’re capable to go beyond where you’ve gone this far. You’re capable of so much more. But it’s going to take a willingness on your part to go through that fiery furnace of real creativity. You can train your mind to do this. Don’t be a sissy about it. You can train yourself to do this. It’s not the most impossible thing in the world. The creative person has so much power, so much potential.

15:51 CJ: And as I said, at the outset, you don’t have a choice in the matter. Oh sure, you can choose against it. But your conscience is going to bother you if you don’t fulfill this musical mission in your life. You say, “CJ, how do I know?” It’s like I said, do you have a passion for it? Do you feel like you’re wired and gifted to do it? And are there the resources and the paths needed to get you there? If you can check off all of those boxes, then the rest of it is just sweat equity. The rest of it is just perspiration, working and slaving away. Yes, by yourself. And yes, it’s lonely. But improving yourself, refining your skills, getting your ideas onto paper, or onto tape, so to speak. Doing, and working and refining and going over and over these things, until you produce the greatness that you’re wired to produce.

I wanted to inspire you today. I wanted to encourage you. I wanted to build you up. I didn’t want you to think, “I can’t go any further. 2020 is too much for me. It’s been too hard up to this point. So many things are against me. It just seems like it’s so hard these days.” Yeah. Life is hard. Yes, things are difficult, but guess who’s bigger than life? You. Guess who’s stronger than life. You. You say, “CG, how could you say that? How could I be stronger than life?” Because I’ve found so many people, just like you, who overcame the circumstances they were facing. They overcome the difficulties. They overcome the resistance. When they finally realize, you know when you overcome the resistance of life? It’s when you finally realize that your greatest obstacle is yourself.

You’ll overcome life when you overcome you, because a stronger you can pretty much face everything. A stronger you can pretty much deal with anything. The stronger you become, the less resistance can affect you. The stronger you are, the more you can lift. The further you can go. The more you can do. You have to believe in yourself. You have to believe that you have the personal power that’s needed to do what’s required to fulfill your musical mission, to achieve that goal in life. To do everything that you’re wired and intended to do. Your potential is so great. It should boggle your mind.

And maybe you have those moments. You have those moments where you realize, “Man, I am talented.” And then you check yourself, because you don’t want to get the ego. But maybe you do have those moments where you realize, “I do really love this. I love what I want to do. I love the creative process. I love working on my songs. I love doing these things.” But then you meet your other self. The self-doubt, the second guessing, the one who really stands in your way. It’s not your circumstances that matter, because the stronger you become, man, the more able you are to face anything in life. And it has nothing to do with your physical stature. I don’t care how big you are, wealthy you are, how well known you are. It’s got nothing to do with that. It’s got nothing to do with how physically strong you are.

It has to do with how mentally strong you are. How strong you are in your inner constitution, because that’s what’s going to carry you. That’s what’s going to build you up. That’s what’s going to take you to new levels. This is the creative process. This is what we’re involved in. Don’t let this idea of creativity be romanticized. Again, that you have to get off to some special place, some romantic place to finally do your great work. No, you do your great work right now in that apartment, in that cluttered apartment, in that busy environment, in that crowded desk space. That’s when you do it. That’s when you get creative. When you shut out the circumstances and you hone in and you focus on the process, focus on the art, focus on the discipline. Become one with this process. This is real creativity. This is real technology. It’s creating something out of nothing. It’s using invisible means to create visible things. It’s not inspiration, it’s perspiration. It’s wrestling with the problem until the universe spits out for you, your solution.

20:49 CJ: I want you to be inspired. I want you to be motivated. We don’t have to cover necessarily principles of marketing every time on this podcast. Again I’m the Branding and Mindset Coach here at the Savvy Musician Academy. My gig is motivation. My gig is mindset, because the other stuff is actually easy. Learning new skills, like marketing, or copywriting, or branding, or Facebook advertising. Man, you can learn that. That’s not the big deal. The problem is not learning those things. The problem is you standing in your own way. The problem is you not taking your creativity seriously. The problem is you not taking yourself seriously just like Michelangelo, or Michael Jackson have. You got to take yourself seriously. Take your gifts, talents, and abilities seriously, and treat them that way.

How serious are your gifts, talents, and abilities? Are they serious enough to put to practice every day? Are they serious enough to break through to new levels? How can you expect other people to appreciate your gifts, talents, and abilities if you’re not treating them well. How do you treat them well? By submitting them to the process of hard work. That’s how you do it. That’s how you honor what’s inside you. You make it more. The way you honor what is inside you, in terms of your gift, talents and abilities, is by multiplying them. By making them more than they are right now, by becoming prolific in your creative output. Always be writing, always be posting on social media, always be building your audience. Always be thinking, always be resourcing, reading stories, getting more creative ideas about songs to write. Doing more things. Engaging with your audience, conversing and communicating and communing, if you will, with other musicians and creative people.

Get outside of music. Talk to people who write, talk to people who paint, talk to people who do other things. And find inspiration from things outside of your field of degree. Find inspiration from the sources you wouldn’t normally find in. And It’ll change the way that you think. You’ll come back and look at your own music in a different way. Learn more, reach out more, go more, discover new things. These all feed your creative process. They all empower you to come up with new and diverse solutions for greater output, greater musical creations. You have so much more potential. You have so much more potential.

Those who are unfamiliar, like I said, with the creative process, they think it’s something else that makes something great. They think you have to be special. No, you just have to work hard. You just have to put in the time, put in the hours. That’s the reality. That’s the truth. The harder you work at what you do, the more creativity you’re going to find. You don’t write things on the first draft. You don’t finish the completed song just in one take. That’s very, very rare. You just go over more and more. You don’t hold back. It doesn’t have to be perfect. You just get it down on paper, get it down on your phone, record it. And then just keep making those refinements.

So again, creativity is not spitting out the completed project in one shot. That’s not what inspiration is. It’s just one little hair of an idea. One little speck of an idea that you relentlessly work until it becomes a full orchestra. A complete play, a complete novel, a complete film, a complete song. You work the idea, you develop these things. That’s your job. That’s your mission in life. That’s your responsibility. Be faithful to it. That’s all I ask of you today. Be faithful to your musical mission, your calling, by working hard daily. That’s how you be faithful. You don’t have to reach the stars just yet. You don’t have to make a million dollars just yet. You don’t have to be the most popular person in the world just yet. You just have to be faithful today.

So cast off the yawn, cast off the plans for the nap, cast off all the other worrying and concern and things you were going to bask in today, and get right back to work. Discipline your mind, will and emotions, and just get right back to work. Can you dig that? Man, I hope you can.

Leah McHenry

Leah McHenry

It's become my absolute obsession to find out what will make musicians successful today. In the face of many obstacles, and in the vast sea of the internet, we have an opportunity that has NEVER been available to us in the history of the music business.