Hello, wonderful readers! What a busy, busy day. I just got back from dinner with a college buddy/fellow creative writer and it was absolutely fantastic.
We studied creative writing at a very small, private university which allowed us to become close friends with our professors and fellow classmates. There were only three other creative writers in our department (Hi, Jamie, Kev and Bri!). We had no choice but to be completely vulnerable to one another, finding strength and comfort in small numbers and open hearts. Personally, I find there to be nothing more vulnerable than sharing my writing… except maybe singing… yeah, it’s definitely a close call.
We had dinner at a small Italian restaurant we used to frequent while in school. You know the one– the town favorite with pasta bowls larger than your face and enough water refills to fill a small pool– the best! I live four blocks away from said restaurant, but back in the day, this was our creative escape from the gangsta hullabaloo that surrounded our collegiate campus. Perhaps, those stories will be in a different blog post. I’m sure I can fit them in somehow… Finding Your Voice & Kicking the Crazy Woman Who Hi-Jacked Your Car Out Of Your Car… that may be a two part-er.
But in all seriousness– that restaurant brings back memories. Both Jen & I (yes, she has a name!) and a face (see below) had some pretty interesting times gorging ourselves with pasta at that restaurant.
Every time a visiting writer came to campus we took them to this small Italian restaurant. One long table, lots of creative voices. Every dinner was amazing. We talked about the practice of writing, why and how we do it, challenges and triumphs… and why my eyebrows… look like wings? I’m looking at you, Thomas Sayers Ellis! We learned how to take on the voice of other cultures and time periods like West Virginia coal miners, with Diane Gilliam Fisher and tackled music and the Romantics with Dan Albergotti. You couldn’t help but waddle out onto the small town street full of ideas, energy and tiramisu (naturally).
Last night, two writer friends reminisced about that creative energy and all the possibilities we had in front of us. Two years later, we’re still able to feel sparks of that inspiration and newness.
(Cover your eyes, Dr. C) I haven’t written in a LONG time. I won’t start spitting dates, but trust me, it’s long overdue. When I was in school I felt like I was on the incline of a roller coaster. I got my diploma and it’s been nothing but the headache of having bills to pay, decisions to make (ew), and dishes to clean. It’s easy to lose yourself. I felt like a fraud. How could I say I feel most myself when I’m writing and not actively choose to write? How could I say that I am a writer if I only pick up a pen when signing checks and scribbling to-do lists?
Catching up with Jen I realized that I am not a fraud just because I haven’t written a poem in a while. It also made me realize that, as a Creative, there is nothing more important than finding “your people.” Not everyone is an artist and not everyone can justify (and has to frequently) why they prefer staying up until three in the morning when everyone’s asleep because it’s the best time to create. It’s okay to work differently. It’s okay to stare at the corner of your room where the ceiling connects to the wall and claim that as your creative process. Find your people and support your people. Keep the inspiration and the confidence going so that you, as an artist, can keep going.
Find Your People:
- Creatives need creatives.
- Creatives are not your competitors. No one can write the perfect poem or paint the perfect picture.
- Creatives are like-minded souls who know where you’re coming from.
- Creatives are just as scared and vulnerable as you are. Only when you embrace your vulnerability and allow yourself to be open can you create wonderful things.
- Attend classes about things that you care about. You don’t need to attend a university to do this. There a ton of e-course opportunities that allow you the chance to connect with others globally. Take a look at Skill Share to see if there’s something that interests you! (Thanks, Dr. Utell!)
- Go to places you care about. If you’re a film buff, see if there is a film discussion group or special film event in the near future. Explore museums.
- Volunteer. “Your Peeps” don’t have to be “Creatives” to inspire.
- Try a site like Meet Up, where you can do fun things like join a bicycling club (not that physical activity is typically something I’m drawn to). Don’t let the name fool you– it’s not a dating service! It’s a friend finder. Can doing mutual fun things that you love lead to a date finder– well sure, if that’s what you’re looking for… but don’t discount this site, if you’re not.
- Attention Everyone: LinkedIn is not just for business! Find a group that interests you, you never know what opportunities may open up.
Disclaimer: Yes, I hold two BA’s in English and Creative Writing and I am perfectly aware that I switched tenses at least five times throughout this post. You’ll find that I do this often. Not only am I writing for you, lovely audience, I’m writing to and for myself and it’s just where my writing takes me. It’s a bad habit, but if you’re comfortable, I’m comfortable not breaking it.