How to Help Your Starving-Artist-Friend: Part 4, Prayer

This is part four of a six-part series about supporting your Starving-Artist-Friend. Click for part 1, part 2, and part 3.

This is the hardest post in this series for me to write – not because I know nothing about it – rather the opposite, I know how vital it is and want desperately to convey that importance to you. Yet, I know most of my readers will fall into two camps: those who know, superficially, what I am saying, but struggle to put it into practice, and those who outright will disregard this post. There are a few who know the importance of this next step and practice it daily, but they are too few.

Today’s topic is prayer.

I’m not talking about “Good food, good drink, good God let’s eat” or “Now I lay me down to sleep…” prayers. I want you to really talk with God.

Now, before I go any further, I’m going to address those who don’t believe in God. And I say this in my kindest, most loving, least snarky voice possible. I would love for you to keep reading. But if you are going to be offended, please just stop here and come back next week. If you are going to try to get a debate going in the comments about the existence of God, just stop right there. We aren’t going to take your bait. Your comment will go unanswered. (That is direction for those who are tempted to argue. Trust me, it won’t get anywhere but ugly.) I would encourage you to pray to the God you don’t know and ask Him, if He’s really there, to show Himself to you. Then, when He does, don’t disregard it as coincidence. And, if you have honest questions, I will be thrilled to answer them.

To the rest of you, those who believe in God and know the power of prayer: this post is for you.
But what do you pray for, beyond “Bless my Starving-Artist-Friend”?
Well, first, it’s time to change our wording so we are speaking life. All throughout scripture, when God changed someone’s path, He changed their name. So let’s have a name change. Your friend is no longer a Starving-Artist-Friend, but is now a Budding-Artist-Friend.

Now that we have that settled, let’s talk about prayer. Your Budding-Artist-Friend needs prayer, and lots of it. Here are a few things you can specifically pray for:

  • His relationship with God – Budding-Artist-Friend can only produce Life-inspiring art if they are tapped into the source of all creation: The Creator Himself.
  • Creativity – Maybe a bit redundant with the above (and repetitious, too), but pray that your Budding-Artist-Friend will have the Creator’s Spirit to produce art to His glory.
  • Wisdom – Your Budding-Artist-Friend has dozens of choices to make every day regarding his art and its promotion. And as he grows as an artist, seeing his dream fulfilled, temptations will come: temptations to reach a larger audience by watering down the message, temptations to put his creations above his Creator, temptations to put his art above more important things (people) in his life, and much more. Pray that your Budding-Artist-Friend has the wisdom to stand against these temptations.
  • Perseverance – This is one of the hardest obstacles your Budding-Artist-Friend has to face. And, chances are, he has to face it daily. The ideas don’t want to flow and it would be much easier to crush some candies than to try to solve that one specific problem he knows is in the piece and messing up the whole thing but he just can’t figure out what needs to be different. So pray for focus and perseverance.
  • ??? – Every Budding-Artist-Friend has other things they need prayer for: maybe it’s a personal problem with finances or relationships. Or a dear one is sick. Maybe there’s a specific situation he needs to deal with. Your Budding-Artist-Friend would be greatly blessed if you occasionally asked him, “How can I specifically pray for you this week?” That one question will bless him more than any of the other things you’ve done. So do it regularly (but, as Paul says, don’t forget the former.)

So, go bless a Budding-Artist-Friend.

How to Help Your Starving-Artist-Friend, Part 3: Reviews

This post is third in a series on how you can support your Starving-Artist-Friend. Click here for Part One and Part Two.

Now it’s time to really show your Starving-Artist-Friend what you think of him. He’s made is first book (album/portfolio/….) and is trying to sell it. What do you do?

You’re the first in line, of course. Yes, you do need to shell out some of your hard-earned cash. Here is where you show what you think of his work. Do you buy one and put it on your shelf? Or do you buy several and give them as gifts throughout the year? Do you read the book then put it up? Or do you take the time to write a review?

And in that last point you can have a great impact. Your Starving-Artist-Friend’s baby is out there struggling for attention in the sea of so many other babies. And you can help point people his way.

This post is specifically about reviewing books, because that’s what this Starving-Artist knows. If your Starving-Artist-Friend produces a different type of art, check with him for industry-specific recommendations.

So, you bought the book. You read the book. In one sitting. Because you couldn’t put it down. You tell your Starving-Artist-Friend how wonderful his book is. End of story. Right? Wrong.

Now you need to hop over to Amazon (or Barnes and Noble), find the book and write a review – but it can’t be just any review – it has to be a good one. Stop! Don’t run away! I’m not talking about your 8th grade book report. This piece will have life and vitality and will encourage others to invest in your Starving-Artist-Friend’s work, also. Here are some thoughts to help you get started.

  • Give a brief synopsis. And I mean brief. Don’t spoil the plot twist. Just introduce the main character(s) and tell what problem they need to solve. This section will probably be 3-5 sentences.
  • Tell something you like about the book. Does it draw you in? Is there a character you particularly relate to? Does one of the characters remind you of someone you know and love (or hate)? Is the author’s writing style friendly/confident/sassy? But, again, don’t give away the plot.
  • Tell something you don’t like about the book. Yes, do it. It won’t turn people away. It will lend an air of authenticity to your review. And you want to write a review people will trust. So don’t be afraid to share a minor flaw.
  • Who would enjoy this book? Children? Dragon-lovers? Business people? Fans of that popular British show with the time machine disguised as a police box?
  • DO NOT tell how you used to wipe the author’s nose or that you love to go out with him Friday nights. As far as the review is concerned, you do not know the author. Stating that you do is one of the best ways to have your review removed and that won’t help your Starving-Artist-Friend at all.
  • And while you’re at Amazon, read the other reviews. Do you see those that have the disclaimer that they received a review copy? Your Starving-Artist-Friend sent them a free copy of the book so they could write the review. They are another breed of Starving-Artist. They love to hang out on Amazon and write reviews. All they get in return is free stuff to review and a pat on the back (or a like). So let them know you are thankful for taking the time to review your Starving-Artist-Friend’s book by liking their review. It takes half a second and it helps everyone involved.

One more word about Amazon: Amazon’s magic number is somewhere around 50. Yes, that’s right five-zero. Your Starving-Artist-Friend needs 50 reviews of his book in order for it to start working its way into the search hits. Fifty. He’s not going to reach that goal without you. So, when he starts asking on Facebook for people to review his book, do it. And comment that you did (remember, your comment will help boost his post). Then encourage all your other friends to do the same. Don’t just share the post; tag them in it. Then, when you see them in person, ask them if they did and explain to them how important it is that your Starving-Artist-Friend gets reviews.

Your homework: Put what you’ve learned today into practice. Now through April 26, 2016 I have reduced the electronic version of Our Stories: Tales of the Bible’s Extras to only $2.25! That’s 1/2 of the regular price. So, hurry over there, buy it. Read it. Enjoy it. And then… review it.

Our Stories: Tales of the Bible’s Extras is available from Amazon (in print or for Kindle) or from Barnes and Noble for Nook.

Thank you from your Starving-Artist-Friend.

How to Help Your Starving-Artist-Friend, Part 2: Live Events

This is the second of a series on helping your Starving-Artist-Friend. Click here for part one.

So, you’ve joined all your Starving-Artist-Friend’s social media outlets and are enjoying getting to know your friend’s artist brain. You’re finding lots of wonderful things to comment on and repost. And you’re ready to take the next step. What is that? Your friend will probably tell you.

Your phone bings, indicating someone you are following is twittering. It’s your Starving-Artist-Friend excited that she’s been invited to share at the poetry slam (concert/author night/art display…) downtown. You check your schedule and see you have nothing going on that day so you pencil it in, lightly write the event in bold letters across the calendar, then put sticky notes all over your house so you don’t forget. You wouldn’t miss this time for the world.

A couple weeks before the evening, you create an event on Facebook (or share the one your Starving-Artist-Friend created) and invite all your friends, telling them how great her work is and how amazing the night is going to be.
You know, of course, that fewer than half the people who say they are going to go to an event actually do, so you personally touch base with some other friends and make plans to make a night of it.

You all show up and are amazed at how your Starving-Artist-Friend transforms from a quiet wallflower into a confident beast when sharing her heart. The manager of the establishment is amazed at the crowd your Starving-Artist-Friend drew and the level of her artistry and asks her to come back. You are moved to tears, thinking you thought about missing this evening and are so glad you didn’t.

You walk away wondering how else you can help your Starving-Artist-Friend. Alas, you have to wait until next time to find out. So, make sure you subscribe to my newsletter so you don’t miss it. (Edit: Click here to read Part 3 and find out.)