Last week we talked about the importance of investing in your home life by bringing beauty into your home.
But while I am a proud homebody, I also believe cultivating creative community is a very good thing.
What is creative community?
Basically, it means surrounding yourself with people who inspire you creatively.
The people you can ask “what are you reading” and know you’ll walk away with new recommendations for your nightstand.
People who won’t blink if you suggest taking in a film at the boutique theater instead of checking out the latest blockbuster.
People who can linger over a glass of wine and conversation.
These people may or may not be artists themselves.
They could share your passions, or have equally interesting ones of their own.
Honestly, you could have nothing else in common, except a desire to be explorers of this life.
Because that’s really what creativity is about: a commitment to explore this life and all the nooks and crannies it holds emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
So who do you know who is an explorer?
If no one comes to mind, who do you know who could be an explorer?
Because as we so often discuss, sometimes the desire to live a more beautiful, creative life is there, but it’s been pushed down deep in the name of practicality.
What if you were the person to inspire someone to live the creative life they always dreamed of?
That’s what creative community does.
And it doesn’t have to be a big, involved process. Making creative community a part of your life can fit right into the flow of your life. Most importantly, it should be fun!
Here are five examples of ways you can cultivate creative community this week:
- Send a postcard to a friend with a simple question: “What’s your favorite novel?” “Name your top three favorite albums”. Include instructions for your desired response. Do you want a phone call? A fun creative discussion with a pen-pal? I think it would be absolutely delightful to get a surprise note like this, don’t you?
- Consider creating a book club with friends. Or even simpler, choose one friend to read the same book with and talk about. Brandon and I are doing this as we speak. Together we are reading the (unabridged!!) version of The Count of Monte Cristo. And we’re learning there’s a reason it’s usually available in the abridged version 🙂 But seriously, it’s so fun to be reading and talking about the same book. We don’t have any “serious” sit-down book talks or anything like that, it just kinda invites good literature into our lives in a very natural way.
- You know the Red Hat Society? It’s a club that calls itself a “playgroup for women”. Basically you see these groups of women out and about-wearing red hats-taking in theatre, visiting museums, and just doing cool stuff. What if you created a “society” of your own-coordinating headwear not required? I have two informal groups I do events with: a “finer things” group with my mom and sister (and anyone who wants to join us!) and a “Shakespeare club” with my sister, my cousin, and her eldest daughter. It truly is a joy to enjoy these events with people I love…and having them on the books, even weeks or months in advance, just puts a spring in my step!
- Do you know someone who is working on a creative project? Whether it’s learning an instrument, working through a reading list, writing a story, or learning watercolor painting, this person is probably accustomed to never getting a chance to talk about their pursuit, or eyes glazing over when they do venture to talk about their passion. Make it a point this week to ask that person how their project is going, and give them some encouragement. Not only will you inspire them to keep going, they will probably return the favor when your own creative juices are running low one day.
- Have a game night and play creative games. Try exquisite corpse, word-at-a-time story, or Cranium. Or just do what my friends and I did in college when we were too poor to do anything else: share a bottle of wine, play music, and paint and draw. (We were theatre students.) As it says on the Cranium box: “you won’t believe what your friends and family can do!”
This week, ask yourself:
- WHO can I cultivate creative community with? Who shares an interest in the arts? Or is there someone in my life I’d just like to get to know a little better? Don’t assume just because someone isn’t super vocal about the arts, means they wouldn’t be interested in doing some of this cool stuff with you.
- WHAT am I interested in pursuing with them? Do you want to be actively involved in creating something? Try a class or workshop, or just call a friend for a crafting day. Or are you looking more for inspiration? In that case, making a point to “fill the tanks: by visiting museums, seeing plays, and reading books.
Then go ahead and put something in the ol’ planner, friend! I challenge you to try this at least once.
You might be shy about introducing something other than your usual hangout into your friend group.
But I promise you, people like trying new things. They just sometimes need that extra push.
What if you were that push? You might be the person to encourage someone to pursue a more creative, beautiful life. And in doing so, you’re encouraging yourself, as well!
This week I would love to hear: what are you doing to cultivate community?
Don’t forget to join me next week for our last post in this series: Achievable Bite-sized Creativity!
And if you’re looking for the rest of the challenge, look no further: