When reading about artists and creativity, I find you often hear mention of famous writers hanging out together. J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, Truman Capote and Harper Lee, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Louisa May Alcott, just to name a few. In Hollywood, we hear about actors and directors who enjoy handing out with each other. Just look at the fun J.J. Abrams and Zack Snyder are having poking fun at each other while directing the new Star Wars and Superman/Batman films. If you follow Weird Al Yankovic on Twitter you will see pictures of him hanging out with Seth Green or Thomas Lennon. For a few years now I’ve listened to the Nerd Poker Podcast which features a bunch of comedians hanging out playing Dungeons & Dragons, something they had done for over a decade before starting the podcast. These are just a few examples, I’m sure a much longer list can be made.
So, why is it that famous creative types seem to gravitate to each other? Is it because they are part of the famous elite and only hang out with other famous people? While that could be the case in a few cases, I think it is more likely because creative people gravitate towards each other and they especially gravitate to other creative people they find inspiring. I certainly know that this is true with me.
When we were in the heyday of Dr. Floyd, it was creatively inspiring to hang out with the shows co-creator, Doug. A simple meal or hour spent playing Nintendo 64 or other some such hangout would undoubtedly inspire future episodes of the show or funny lines to throw in here and there. Currently hanging out with puppeteer and puppet builder Russ Walko will inspire funny ideas for projects. I also find that hanging out with Patrick Bristow, Chris Sheets, Alison Mork, Brian Clark, Vanessa Whitney, Kevin Bertnson or any of the other fantastically funny founding members of Improvitorium with inspire creativity and fun.
I think that, as an artist, it is important to create for yourself a nest of creatives you can hang out with and who will inspire your own creativity. Creative friends you can laugh with, bounce ideas off of and receive input from with no expectation of credit or ownership. Build this nest with care so that you have people you truly be your creative self with when you are with them. These are people who aren’t competing with you, they are people who are there to support you and you, in turn, support them.
And because of the marvelous age we live in, they don’t necessarily have to be people who live close to you. I have several people who I would consider are in my ‘creative nest’ that live on the East Coast and we use all the wonders of technology to keep in touch. Author Mur Lafferty lives in North Carolina and we communicate via text and Twitter often. Singer/Songwriter Carla Ulbrich lives in New Jersey and we often chat via email or text. Musician John B. DeHaas lives in Florida and we talk almost daily via the Voxer app. With technologies like these, not to mention Skype or Google Hangouts, it is quite possible to have a creative nest that spans the entire globe!
Be thankful for the support and inspiration your creative nest gives you. And if you don’t have one, begin building it today! It will only make you a better artist.
Do you have a creative nest? If so how long have you had one and how did it help you? Let me know in the comments below! Have a great week!
To me, being creative is something that has become second nature. It is now like breathing or blinking to me. I just have to create. I’m not saying all of it is good, but I just have this, almost instinctive, desire to constantly create things.
It has actually been that way for a very long time. As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to ‘put on a show.’ I can remember recording the audio from cartoons off of television and then rounding up neighborhood kids and putting them through rehearsals to act out the cartoons in front of our parents. When mom and dad would have friends over I would organize the kids to do a lip sync number or something and then drag all the parents to watch it at some point in the evening. As a kid I also loved to draw, though I was never any good at it. I’m still not but I continue to do so anyway. I also loved to sing along with records and strum on plastic guitar (though I didn’t know any chords). I was just always trying to think of someway to entertain people.
I was very lucky. My parents encouraged all this. Sure, they would have liked me to focus a little more on my studies and less on drawing or writing, but they never told me I couldn’t pursue these passions. As I reached high school and started getting involved in theatre and band, they became very involved. Mom in the Drama Boosters and dad building sets for the shows. Again, I know exactly how lucky I am to have had that support and that is largely responsible for why creating is so important to me now.
At the beginning of 2012, for some odd reason, I just started posting daily Facebook posts and Tweets on Twitter that shared a short thought on some aspect of creating. I would sometimes sit down and think of them for the week or sometimes I would just go day after day coming up with one for each day. These daily postings seemed to catch on with people resulting in a lot of ‘Likes’ and ‘ReTweets.’ People would message me privately and let me know the little quotes were inspiring them to be creative in their daily lives and one person even wrote that because of these daily postings, they had left their full time job, partially, to pursue a creative career. Whoa, that’s heavy.
After a couple of weeks of these daily postings, I started to run dry. I had been keeping good track of them, but all the new thoughts I was coming up with were either duplicates of or very similar too ones I had put out earlier, so I stopped. But, as I said, I was keeping good track of them and the thought hit me to take each little thought and then write a three hundred to five hundred word piece on each of them and release them on this blog every Monday. My goal is to do this for a whole year so that by the end of 2014 I’ll have 52 short pieces on different aspects of creativity. I already have fifteen written, not including this intro post, so it’ll continue for fifteen weeks at least.
I would really love this to become something interactive as well. I’d love to hear your feedback on this “Creative Mondays” project as a whole and the weekly posts when they come out. Also, if you feel so inclined, I welcome you to share these posts with anyone you feel would enjoy them. Also, at the end of each piece I will post a question or prompt and I’d love for you to post your response in the comments below. Feel free to interact with other readers as well. Though creativity is not a decisive tops, I ask you please keep discussion civil and supportive. Comments will be moderated. Let’s get a really good creative discussion going!
See you next week for Creative Mondays #001!
This week’s prompt….
Introduce yourself and tell us what your main creative passion is. (Writing? Drawing? Painting? Sculpting? Woodworking? Digital art? Etc.) Tell us in the comments below!