On Finding Your People
My daughter just applied for grad school. She's going for an MFA in poetry.
I mention this for two reasons.
- My daughter just applied to grad school and I'm super proud of her.
- She highlighted an interesting aspect about her undergrad years in her application, which I'd like to underline here.
While she was taking classes in Peoria, IL, she sought out other poets and helped form and advance a poetry scene. In Peoria, IL. Not in New York or Los Angeles. They did readings and gave input into each other's work and made each other better poets.
I love it when people figure out the fact we can't go it alone.
Earlier this week I briefly hung out with some friends who are a part of an indie-folk band based out of Lexington, KY.
Turns out - there's a music scene in Lexington, KY. Who knew?
After a little poking around on the Internet I found:
- A public art scene in Cleveland
- A poetry scene in Denver
- There are writers' groups in almost every city in the country.
As I made my long, cold, snowy way back home yesterday, this concept stoked my curisity.
Community is a basic human need. Seeking out like-minded people is something we all do, whether in the art world or the corporate world or the stamp collecting world or the world of macramé. Or at least we all should.
Creativity, work and community are inextricably linked. In fact, the trope of the lone wolf, artistic genius, lonely executive is actually quite rare.
Jeff Goins says we do our best work in community. I agree with him. Have you sought out others with whom you can collaborate, discuss or review your work, or simply find mutual camaraderie and support? You should. Here's where to start.
My guess is there are other people around you looking for the same thing you are. You just have to find them. Go to places where they may hang out - like a bookstore or a coffee shop or a museum or a part - and introduce yourself. Take out an ad in your local paper. Start a meetup. Your people are out there.
While a lot of things about the Internet are broken right now, the one thing World Wide Web has always done well is make connections. There are other people who love what you love in this world. Reddit and Facebook groups are a great place to begin seeking out such people. There are even still old-fashioned (circa 1995) message boards, where people with similar interests can connect and share. Do a little research and find a place you belong.
Face to face, real life connections are always best. Depending on who you are, where you are, your station in life, and your goals - it might make sense to move yourself to where your people are, whether a faith-based group or a creative community. While this is not possible for everyone, it may be more possible than you would think. Consider it.
Find a community to which you can contribute. Not only will this allow you to do your best work, but you may contribute to someone else in unexpected ways.
And - it could be the start of something great.