A creative community shouldn't be complicated

Find your tribe

I've had this Post-It kissed against a picture frame on my desk for months now: Think about the words "creative community." Every so often, it unsticks itself and falls, causing me to about jump out of my skin. (I'm in the process of writing a thriller and quite on edge due to its plot.) Today, it refuses to re-stick, so here I am: finally forced to confront the words I've avoided.

In addition to our writing work, there's another part of our vocation we often overlook: surrounding ourselves with a community of compatible artists to mine for invoicing advice, web developer recommendations, writer's block solutions and more.

As creatives, the people we surround ourselves with know they're fodder for our work. We'll conceal their identities, sure, but nonetheless we mine our relationships for content. Yet in addition to our actual work, there's another part of our vocation we often overlook: surrounding ourselves with a community of compatible artists to mine for invoicing advice, web developer recommendations, writer's block solutions (maybe The 52-Week Project?) and more.

At a recent Creative Mornings event in Nashville, I spoke with a filmmaker who moved here from North Carolina. She was kind, well spoken and authoritative. She seemed interested in my work, and I returned the interest in hers. It struck me that a partnership could be had here. By opening myself to a creative community not for my content but for their skills, I could have a Rolodex of both future collaborators and clients. The community already exists -- the creatives are out there, in the streets -- we only have to join them.

"The community already exists ... we only have to join them."

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Today, what "creative community" means for me as a first step is taking advantage of the moments we’re offered and using free tools -- like Twitter and LinkedIn -- to join communities.

  1. What does "creative community" mean for you?
  2. Would you trade your creative services for another's, such as having a photographer take photos for your website in exchange for writing copy for her website?

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