Sure, some of it is luck and location, but most of it is YOU.
There are creatives out there, I guarantee it. They just need someone to call them out and make it happen. That someone can be you.
That someone has been me. Unintentionally, I just kind of stumbled upon it.
This is simple, but it is not instantaneous. Each step is important, and it’s kind of a snowball effect.
The more you do this, the more it grows until you have your avalanche of an arts community.
But it’s so simple, you can get started today, I promise.
(I’ll be taking this from the angle of writing, since that’s my experience, but this applies to any type of creativity.)
- Talk about your creating ALOT.
- But not like spammy, sales-pitchy, or over-excessive. It’s not all about you.
- “How are you?” “Great, I had a breakthrough in my writing last night and am excited for my story!”
- “Sorry, I can’t make it that day. That’s my writing day. Can we do Thursday?”
- “What ya got going on this weekend?” “Trying to figure out the next part of my story… Here’s where I’m stuck. Any ideas?”
- “Nice to meet you! What do you do in your free time?” “I enjoy writing. I blog and I’m working on a novel I hope to one day publish.”
- See, non-spammy, normal conversation. Don’t get too chatty about it unless they keep prodding.
- (Psst! You can do this in person or on social media.)
Your results from this will vary, but here’s a few responses you’ll encounter:
- The more you do this, the more you’ll find people who say: “How cool, I like to write, I just never have the time” – or insert some other excuse…. Not quite your writing community you’re looking for, I know.
- Occasionally you may get lucky and find a committed writer too.
- You’ll also stumble upon people who bring up their non-writing creative pursuits. More creative community, woohoo!
- And you’ll also stumble upon people who say, “Oh cool, I know my sister/son/friend/acquaintance writes too.” Let them know they’ll have to introduce you sometime so you can chat writing with each other.
So the next step for all of these responses you get:
- Talk about THEIR creative pursuits.
- (Psst! This can also be in person or on social media.)
- You just got them to open up about their creativity, whether it’s consistent or not.
- Ask what they’re working on.
- Ask how it’s going.
- If they “don’t have time”, ask how they can make time.
- Ask them what their goal is for this week – can they write for 15 minutes tonight? Tomorrow? this weekend?
- Come up with a joint goal – “Tell you what – I’ll write 15 minutes tonight and you write 15 minutes tonight; then tomorrow we have to tell each other how it went.” Or “Tell you what, let’s both write a short story this month and share it with each other next time we get coffee.”
- Hold them to their goals. Encourage them. Keep them going.
- Be fascinated about their project and their success.
- Listen. Most of this is listen.
- When relevant, bring up your work, but that’s not the point. Their work is the point. Keep them going.
And the final step. How does this help you? You’re looking for people to hold you accountable to your goals, not vise versa. You don’t need more slackers to deal with you may say.
But here’s the secrets. You know all the above stuff. It’s super simple. But the most important part is here, your mindset.
You see, you can’t do the above stuff well without writing yourself. Here’s why:
- You can’t talk about writing all the time if you’re not writing to begin with.
- The more you talk about writing, the more people know you’re a writer and expect you to be writing. Even non-creatives may latch onto your story and want updates.
- The more people ask about your writing, the more accountable you are to having to write consistently.
- As you start encouraging and motivating other creatives to keep writing, you’ll realize you can’t tell them they should be writing this week if you’re not writing this week too.
- #Protip: the more you have joint goals – sharing a story in a month or writing for 15 minutes together – the more you benefit from this.
- If you slack off, they’ll realize they can slack off, and your encouragement and motivation will be diluted. “Oh you didn’t write this week? Me either, that’s okay, we’ll hit it next time…” Only you don’t hit it next time, because you know you’ll both slack off every so often – which turns into semi-regularly – which turns into regularly until you just stop writing all together. Stop that cycle right now! Be consistent so your motivation to others has potency.
Some of those people you’re encouraging will seep through. They’ll keep going because you’re inspiring them. And they’ll care about you. Because you know stuff and you do stuff, and you think they’re worth the time (because – reminder – THEY ARE!)
And voila – you’ve built a community of creatives that keep you going and that you keep them going. It’s a beautiful thing.
Art is happening. And now you’re a part of that.