The Importance of Finding a Creative (Support) Group
Just within the last few months, I was lucky and glad to have met and been part of 3 similar, yet different groups of creative people: a lettering and business group, a writing collective, and a creative group. All of these groups I met through other relationships (and no, I don't mean the romantic kind!) that I have built through the past year. For me, being part of these creative groups is both a blessing and a responsibility. I've been lucky to find really nice and supportive people from different walks of life and from different parts of the world. And I treat this like any other healthy relationship.
There has to be trust, respect, and a willingness to share.
Wherever you go, it's important to find your own place, and finding a crew of like-minded people that you can talk to, and share your journey with certainly makes everything better. Doing things is a lot easier and more enjoyable with your friends around, as long as you focus on bringing each other up and helping each other grow.
Here are the things I love about being in creative groups
Learning from each other and experiencing things together
Whether you are an introvert or extrovert, learning and experiencing things is more fun and more worthwhile when you're with other people you like. You get to share insights and learn from how other people approach the problem. You get to see differing perspectives and eventually find a suitable answer for that burning question you have. And even if you don't find the answer through the group, they may be able to engage their own networks to help you out. Also, by sharing what you learned, you get to validate your knowledge and eventually become more confident about your craft. It does not matter whether someone is more ahead or someone is less experienced. Everyone can learn from everyone else.
Understanding Each Other Better
Because they themselves are also creatives and enthusiasts, they understand the struggles you face. They also go through similar difficulties and obstacles You can be real and honest about the problems that haunt you, because you will not be judged. In one way or another they also feel your pain. While you appreciate your understanding and supportive friends (whose work is outside the creative domain), sometimes, you don't believe in what they say. You may feel that they don't understand you. Why? Because they have not been through what you are going through. Being part of a creative support group gives you a familiar sense of home outside your inner circle.
Being Each Other's Cheerleader
When you feel like your work is not up to par, you can rely on the group to help steer you to the right creative direction. You are your own worst critic, and that is more evident in this field, where everything is subjective. Having people who support you and push you to be better is important. A lot of times, you will feel alone and unsure of what you do. The good thing is you are not alone. You have a home away from home, where you can take comfort in knowing that there are people who are genuinely rooting for you. There are people who are not afraid of your success, because your success is also their success. These are the people who will push you to take the risks that you will not otherwise take when you are by yourself. You will have your cheerleaders rallying behind you, to nudge you through the finish line.
Of course, you should not just join any group...
It's imperative that you find a right fit. The hard truth is: not all people will genuinely care about you and your success. It's difficult to find it, but do not be afraid to look around. Sometimes they are just hiding in the shadows. They may be established groups, but some of them will welcome you with open arms.
That is the case with the groups I am in. I'm one of the last people who joined. It was tough trying to fit in. I can be an awkward introvert to strangers. I'm usually cynical about finding real friendships/relationships from casual introductions and meetups. But If an awkward introvert can find one, so can you. It may take time, but do not give up, because one they show up, it will be all worth it.
Lastly, be a good human
Different groups have different dynamics. Some talk more, and some, less. Some are more formal, and some, less. That's okay.
Do not focus on what you can get out of it. Contribute and share.
Be kind, and also put yourself in others' shoes. Take time to know them and understand their struggles. They are also humans like you. They also need support, guidance and your presence. Groups come and go, but the relationships you forge can last a lifetime. Take good care of it. Be a good human.