One thing that can really help you get a jump-start on creativity is the creative buddy system. Iv shared about the importance of building a community of like-minded creatives before so it bares repeating. You kind find countless books and online media discussing this issue so I’m not out to prove anything new to you. This post just serves as a friendly reminder. Looking for a creative buddy? Want to better understand what one is? Read on…the following article by Kelly Morgan (my first Artist Way teacher in L.A.) does a great job at laying it out…
By Kelly Morgan
The history of art is filled with successful artists who probably realized more success because they exchanged support with creative buddies and colleagues. Painters who were creative buddies include: Joan Miro and Salvador Dali; or Braque and Picasso. Writers Dashiell Hammett and Lillian Hellman; Henry Miller and Anais Nin also supported each other’s creative efforts. Anais Nin said Henry Miller was the first person who thought of her as a real writer indeed that she might be one of the best writers of their century. In her day, people judged her famous diaries as “private” and didn’t think they should be published, but her creative buddy, novelist Miller disagreed and encouraged her to publish anyway. The ten volumes of The Diary of Anais Nin have remained popular and are still sold a half century later.
WHAT IS A CREATIVE BUDDY?
We are creative anytime we “bring something new into existence – from a photograph to a screenplay; from a new job or business to a garden.” Creative buddies are those who support our efforts to create something new; as we support their efforts in return. Ideally, creative buddies exchange ideas, enthusiasm, wisdom and other kinds of encouragement without one person sacrificing their creative focus in order to help the other.
You don’t have to find that one perfect creative buddy however. Groups with a vision similar to yours can also support your efforts. The Impressionist Art Movement gained public acceptance for several artists who wanted to portray images in a new and revolutionary way. A more recent and very successful example of creative buddies is when a group of actors who couldn’t get hired banded together and performed plays in someone’s garage. They later formed the Steppenwolf theatre in Chicago. The original group of actors included John Malkevich and Gary Sinese. As they gained recognition, others in their original group also landed acting roles. When one creative buddy succeeds it paves the way for others to do the same.
Over the years I’ve had several creative buddies. Deborah and I listened to each other’s first drafts of poems that would eventually become two published books and my most recent website: www.KellyMorganPoetry.com. James and I performed poetry together and this public speaking led to me teaching workshops. Marla’s support expanded my CreativeLife business with new teaching and organizational ideas. My most enduring creative buddy has been Maggie. For twenty-some years we’ve lent each other emotional support through the inevitable frustrations that accompany the process of bringing something new into existence.
Who is supporting your creative efforts? If you don’t have a creative buddy, maybe it’s time to ask someone you trust to be your creative buddy. Offer to be theirs in return. You might be surprised at all the support that is available to you for the asking.
Often people who come to the Artist’s Way workshop tell me of all the benefits they experience, the most important is a sense of community. When they work with others, they realize that they are not alone. They feel relieved to find others who support them through the pain and frustrations; those that encourage their creativity and dreams. Feeling understood and part of an uplifting group can make all of the difference during the inevitable expansion and contractions that occur in any creative process.
If there aren’t people in your life who understand and encourage you to develop your vision, then find people who can. Join an association. Take a class that inspires you to do what you love. Network with like-minded others. Join a therapy group, Artist’s Anonymous or some other kind of support group.