I clearly remember hearing the pastor of my family’s church share with us that when we prayed together as a congregation, we were more powerful than we prayed alone. I believe the same to be true about creativity. On our own, we can do great things, sure. But together, as a tribe and as a creative community, the miracles are infinite; our energy and collective chemistry collide in a kaleidoscopic array of possibility. I’ve seen this to be true over and over again in my life, my business and my creative endeavours.
We need to be surrounded by people who believe in us and believe in our expression.
We need people who will kindly and enthusiastically encourage us and (when it’s needed) deliver the loving smackdown to keep going. We all know that at some point or another in the creative process (read: LIFE), our inner critic is going to come out to play… a creative community is the antidote to the stifling shame our ego tends to brings to the party. Creative communities bring us to “our people” — likeminded souls who share our ideas, values and vision. People who are just as weird, just as woo-woo, just as wonderful as we are. People who get us and remind us that we are never alone. Our creative comrades keep us moving. They provide inspiration, opportunities for collaboration and they’ll call us out when we’re letting fear and resistance take the reigns.
I say “no way!” to the stereotypical notion of artists and creatives being depressed, insane, broke, narcissistic and lonely. Creativity is not a solo act. Together, we form a barrier against that nonsense and exist as proof that creativity is an abundant, generous, connected, necessary and life-giving energy!
When we’re encouraging, understanding and re-fuelling one another, it doesn’t matter what the outside world says; we know that we’ve got this. We’ve got each other.
History and popular culture are full of creative communities. I think of Gertrude Stein’s apartment in the early 20th century, littered with art and creatives such as Picasso, Hemingway, Matisse and F. Scott Fitzgerald. I think of apprentices throughout the middle ages, learning their craft from a master. I learnt recently that Vincent Van Goh’s paintings never would have seen the light of day were it not for his financier and brother, Theo. I think of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Virginia and Leonard Woolf. Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.
There’s no doubt in my mind that these alliances served to bring out the creative gifts in one another, to inspire, encourage and challenge one another to create great work.
Finding our tribe means being an equal. Where our light is seen and we reflect back to one another our true, divine nature. There are no hierarchies; the teacher is the student is the teacher is the student.
As artist and author Julia Cameron says,
“Where we gather as peers to develop our strengths are best regarded as tribal gatherings, where creative beings raise, celebrate, and actualize the creative power which runs through us all.”
So how we do we get started finding our tribe and calling in a creative community?
Who would you like to call in? What would you love your creative community to look and feel like? Is it a regular crafternoon with a few girlfriends? A quarterly mastermind? A brunch’n’braid morning? An online haven to share your work and receive feedback?
Once you have clarity on the kind of collective you’re searching for, begin to think about where your people might already be hanging out. Yes, this will probably involve you being vulnerable and courageous and putting yourself out there! Keep your eyes open. Be ready to say “yes” to things you might not normally consider. Synchronicity is amplified when we call in the power of people. In my experience, it takes a little bit of vulnerability to bring a whole lot of love and support.
Ask for it. Give your creative expression the gift of community.
It’s time to swap competition and comparison for collaboration and connection.