Posts Tagged ‘amok books’

As we consider the imaginative church, and the creativity associate with it, one of the first thing we might need to do is ask a question:

Is it important?

We might also follow that with the questions, “Is it necessary?” followed close behind by “Is it allowed?”

Let’s start with the last one. The answer is absolutely yes. I do understand the objection. I have seen far too many people in this day and age getting a little too creative with the Scriptures, specifically with interpretation. There are a lot of people out there, even in the church who are (whether intentionally or unintentionally) trying to make the Bible mean what it does not mean. This is not what I mean when I speak of the imaginative church. So let’s be clear. We are talking about taking the unchanging message of the Gospel to an ever changing world, and in that aspect, creativity and imagination is not only allowed, not only necessary but of the utmost importance and, dare I say, essential.

Let’s face it, people in our world are bombarded by thousands and thousands of messages every day. Consider all the media, the billboards, email, texts, ads, books, television, movies, and on and on and on. We are absolutely bombarded. Have you ever been to Times Square? The media saturation in that place is beyond belief. People are confronted on all sides by a relentless barrage of messages. Now consider this, one of these messages is the one Christ’s church has been entrusted with. We believers know it’s the most important one, the only one with eternal significance, but to the rest of the world, the ones we are called to reach, it’s just one of the thousands. Now before I go further, I acknowledge that the Gospel is empowered by the Spirit, and I am not taking that lightly, not by a long shot. I will also acknowledge that there is a reason that God gifted us with creativity, and I believe that it is attached to the great commission. God made us creative (like Him) on purpose, and at least part of that purpose is to take the Gospel to “Jerusalem, and Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Creativity is a gift, given by God. As in the parable of the talents, the master has invested some of His wealth, “talents” of great value in His servants for the purpose of investing them for the good of His kingdom. The choice that is before us is simple. Will we obediently invest what the master has given or will we bury His investment? Our gifts and our talents are His investment in us. If this is the case, and it is, then, if you have creativity, and everyone does, obedience dictates that we get creative for the Kingdom.

Creativity in the church is not just important, or necessary, or allowed, it’s mandatory.

How will you invest what you have been given? Let’s get creative.

In my new book, Enough., one of the things I dealt with is the subject of having enough. For today’s post I thought I would build on that. This is not an excerpt, it’s an expansion.This is a frequent struggle for creatives, especially. We get ideas or feel a calling or maybe even a commission and we feel the need to pass because we feel we don’t have enough, whether it be resources, talent or whatever. I confess I have struggled here too, but I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s pointless for us to do that to ourselves. I mean sure there is a time to count the cost, but for the most part that’s not what we’re doing. Rather, we’re selling ourselves short. So whenever I hear someone lamenting whether or not they have enough, I will usually ask a follow up question.

What do you have right now?

The reason I ask this is simple. If we focus on what we don’t have, we’ll never start and we’ll forget to be grateful for what we already have. Forget for a second having all you need to finish something. What do you need to start? Starting builds momentum and momentum keeps things moving. This is especially true in the realm of talent. People will make the fatal flaw of comparing their abilities with others. Do you know how that person who you think is better than you got to that place? The started and kept going. some people are naturally gifted, but no one starts off great. Rather they did what you need to do. Start where you are, with what you have and build on it. Every great creation started as raw material. The ones who do the work are the ones who get the finished product, so I’ll ask again.

What do you have right now?

Start with that.

Hi All,
Just wanted to let you know, my new book “Enough.” Is now available on Amazon in both the print and Kindle Formats. The Print version is available for $12 and the Kindle version is just $2.99. I can’t wait for you all to read it and I look forward to your input.

Basically this book is for anyone who has ever questioned if they have what it takes, if they measure up or if they just plain wonder “Am I Enough?”

kalbookcovershot3smMy new Adult Coloring Book is now Available on Amazon. Click here to get your copy!
In this book I expanded the designs to fill ore of the page. I had a really great time creating this one and I hope you like it.
<Here's the cover.
and here is a sample page, click the image to download your coloring page.

YOURENOTCOVERAnother question to ask yourself is who will produce this idea. Who will take your idea and turn it into a tangible product. If it’s a one off product, like a work of art, or something that can be delivered digitally, you can most likely find a way to do it yourself. This book is an example, early in the writing process, my idea is to to self publish it and I have found the company online that can produce it and put it on the website of the largest retailer in the world. I plan to market it through my speaking engagements and online. Now I could also work with a regular publisher (and I still may make that decision). If I were to go that route, my first step would not necessarily be to write the whole book, but rather to create a book proposal and put that out to publishers who may be interested in this type of book. If I go that route, I have a better chance getting to a wider audience and into more major retailers. The downside is it will take close to a year to bring it out the public.

For most retail products, the way to go is to work with a manufacturer. If you go this route, the first step is to look for companies already manufacturing things in your space and then finding out how to submit ideas to them. Be warned, some will not accept outside submissions. Search out the ones that do. In some cases, it may be wise to have a patent in place, but be warned this can be costly. There are also some crowd sourced companies out there like that manufacture ideas and give you a percentage if you ca get enough online likes to get you into their consideration process. has a similar process in the world of design.

Speaking of design, In cases of design, like t-shirts and other products that we enhance with our art, words, etc. again there are a multitude of online companies that will produce your products for you in exchange for a percentage of the sale price. If you choose to submit your designs to companies and want to protect them, copyright is the usual vehicle, but be warned. You own the copyright to your design the second you create it (this also applies to written words, etc). The problem is copyright does not protect the idea, just your rendering of the design. I found this most distressing in the early days of my career, but have since come to realize that it is better (to my mind) to put my work out there and risk someone unethically taking the idea, than to keep it locked up here at home and never sharing it with the world. How you handle your ideas is up to you which brings us back to the point of this chapter.

The bottom line in all of this is you do have ideas, they are all around you, you just need to find them or create them and then find the way to move forward to the ultimate goal which is share it with the world.

YOURENOTCOVERSome ideas are just ahead of their time
I always remember the movie Big. If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth a watch. Tom Hanks plays a kid who was magically transformed into an adult. Through a series of events Hanks finds himself looking for a place to live, looking like a man but with the skills and experiences of about a twelve year old boy. By providence, he finds a job in research and development at a toy company where his child-like mind serves him very well. Finally he gets to pitch his own original toy idea. He goes with an electronic interactive comic book that will sell for about $20. The rest of the people laugh him out of the room and he realizes he needs to go back to being a kid. In the 80s when the movie came out, the idea of this interactive electronic book seemed absurd. Of course now we call it an iPad and pay 25 times that. Your idea might be like that. This is another reason why it is imperative that you find a way to record and store your ideas.

Are you too broad?
Another reason people think they don’t have any ideas is because they are looking too broadly. They are looking all over the universe to find that magic idea that will put them on the map. Sometimes it works, but most of the time we need to narrow it down and get really specific. Start with thinking about a problem that needs to be solved (remember problem solving is the essence of creativity), then brainstorm as many ideas as you can to solve it. Then work the process to find your best idea and do it.

Or maybe you’re wanting to create a product, let’s say a toy. Now as you well know the category of toys is practically a universe unto itself. You will probably need to narrow it down. Rather than say I want to make a toy, think of who will use it and what will they do with it. Maybe you want to create a toy that will teach a toddler the alphabet or a board game to be played by the whole family that will teach strategic thinking along with being just plain fun.

Ultimately asking yourself a few questions about who will use your product and what they will accomplish with it will take you a long way toward getting and then refining your idea.

YOURENOTCOVERSo you’ve now got a few workable ideas, what’s next? Well one possibility is to begin to share the idea. Do this very cautiously and only with people you trust. I’m not talking so much about having someone steal your idea here. That can happen but it usually doesn’t, so be cautious but not paranoid. No, what I’m talking about here is people killing your idea. At this early stage in the process, the idea is somewhat fragile. It’s not yet ready to stand up to harsh criticism or even some hard questions. Too many questions and criticisms in the early life of an idea, will take you to a negative place and may even make you give up, hence killing the idea.

What you need instead are people you can trust to be honest with you, but who can also help you to refine without killing. These are the people who can be both objective and visionary. They can imagine with you and dream with you while at the same time steering you away from something that is truly a bad idea (when you’re done brainstorming, bad ideas become real again). It should be a person that knows the area your idea will “live” in and who is willing to help you through the process or at least help you find the next steps.

You have to know who the right people are for each phase of an idea. I have some people who I will share an idea with right out of the box. They are visionary and are pretty good at dreaming past the flaws. Other people are better once you have most of the flaws figured out. By then your idea is pretty tough and can stand up to a little critique. The more concrete thinkers can help you smooth out the edges and get the thing ready to release to the world, or occasionally show you why it simply won’t work.

You have to let some ideas go

Don’t be afraid to stand up for your idea, after all if you don’t, no one will, but also don’t be blind to it’s weaknesses. Ideas can be like our children and sometimes we love them so much that we are the last ones to see their flaws. Here’s the thing your idea is not a child, it’s a thing but like a child it can cost you a lot of time and money. Children are always worth the investment, but the same cannot be said about every idea. Sometimes we have to let one idea go to develop something truly outstanding. Sometimes a harsh critic will save you a lot of time and resources in the long run. Remember time is the great equalizer, we all have the same 24 hours from the richest to the poorest person and ultimately how we invest those 24 hours may well be the difference between success and failure. Don’t be so in love with your idea that you waste your time on something that will never work.

YOURENOTCOVEROkay this is almost as bad as the original lie, that you’re not creative. Of course you have ideas, even the idea that you don’t have any ideas is, you guessed it, an idea. Ideas are everywhere. A lot of them are bad ideas, but they’re ideas nonetheless. Now when I talk about bad ideas (because I’m about to encourage you to have them), I want to be clear what I am not talking about. Criminal activity is a bad idea but it’s not what I’m talking about. Picking a fight with a ninja is a bad idea, I’m not talking about that either. I’m not talking about anything that will get you hurt, killed, incarcerated or that will destroy your key relationships or reputation.

I’m talking about ideas that will make people shake their heads. Those are all around you and they’re a great place to start. Why? Because not all bad ideas are really bad ideas. Some of them are actually the seed of a really great idea. Often, when we say we don’t have any ideas, what we really mean is we have ideas, but the inner critic or one of the billions of external critics has dismissed them as bad. We actually often talk ourselves our of things that could really be great for us and we have to stop doing that.

The way to overcome “having no ideas” is to brainstorm. Brainstorming is the act of coming up with as many ideas as you can as quickly as you can. I know what, you’re thinking (or at least I have an idea, see what I did there?). You’re thinking”…but my problem is I don’t have any ideas.” I refuse to believe that. What you mean is you don’t have any good, feasible ideas, and that may be true, but in thinking that, you are overlooking the first rule of brainstorming, which is, at this phase, there are no bad ideas. When you brainstorm, you turn off the inner critic and silence the outer ones and you record EVERY idea—every last one—good bad or indifferent. You’ll refine later, but for now, write them all down. Do your best not to edit yourself or dismiss anything at all. This is al about getting as many ideas as you can.

Now, and this is important, once you have all the ideas together, look at them as open-mindedly as you can. Some of the worst ones will start to filter out, but some others that at first glance seemed improbable are probably starting to trigger imagined possibilities. Highlight these for further study. What will eventually happen is the winning ideas will start to surface. These are the ones you will develop further. What do you do with the rest? File them, you never know what will surface in the process of development.

I am pleased to announce two more titles from my Making Faces Series. Creatures and Monsters Books 1 and 2. I give you half a face on a grid and using symmetry and the observation skills so necessary in art to complete the face, then color and decorate as you see fit. They are really fun and I think you will really enjoy them.

Get them by clicking on the covers below.

Get Your Copies Today!

It’s not like the old days. In the old days (and yes I know I’ve touched on this before, but bear with me) when I finished a piece of work, if I wanted the world to see it, there was only one possibility. Submit it to a lot of companies and wait to be picked. It rarely happened and it was, frankly, depressing. Those days are gone.

Now there is a third option: withhold your work and benefit no one, submit your work to other companies and possibly still benefit no one, and the third option, utilize the amazing array of tools available out there and put it out yourself. This is the option I have chosen time and time again and it’s great, but it’s also difficult.

covershotcolorbook4finFor example, I just posted two more of my Making Faces books for publishing. The files are being reviewed to make sure everything works and if I have my files correct, they will be available on Amazon, most likely today or tomorrow. Now you might be asking, “What kinds of sales are you having?” The truth is so far my sales have been very small, probably only making up a fraction of my time investment. Why continue to do this kind of work?

Well first of all because the ideas came and ideas are of great value, but only when brought to fruition. Secondly, and relatedly, if it doesn’t exist, no one will buy it, or for that matter be blessed by it. Thirdly, I am building something. Sooner or later, I will find the formula. I will create the thing that gets people’s attention, and when I do, guess what will happen. People will say, that was pretty cool, what else do you have and I will be able to point them to nearly twenty different books and products they might also like. You may not get an immediate return, but the work that we do is an investment.

covershotcolorbook3finReally it all comes down to this, you can sit on your ideas and lament every time someone puts their similar idea out before you (I’ve done that hundreds of times and believe me when I tell you, it stinks every time!) or you can be the one who takes the risk, does the work, and puts it out there for the world to see. I want to be the latter very single time.

Every piece of work you do is an investment. It builds your skills and it adds to the body of work you have available from which to reap a benefit. Plus, it’s usually fun.

One final thought, when it comes to our work, no one can buy what you don’t put out, and no one can benefit from what you keep to yourself—not even you. Put it out there!