So thanks to kids, preschool and the changing weather, I got to spend most of yesterday and today lying on the couch filled with cold medicine. It always irks me when I am more or less required to sit still and do nothing. I did manage to read one new book cover to cover, which is something I rarely get to do anymore. Besides that, I drifted in and out of sleep thinking about what I would write about when I finally managed to prop myself up at the computer. Since my awesome husband was taking care of everything around the house while I used up every box of tissues in the house, I got to thinking about collaboration.
College was the start of really working with others for me in a successful fashion. Before that, most group projects…well, they didn’t end well. It was the first time I was spending extended periods of time with others who love art and wanted to learn more about it. After coming back to Montana, however, I experienced something of a drought. Returning home was one of the best decisions I made, but I did give up a lot of in-person connections that could have been helpful to me as a creative person. During the past eight years as I have worked to create new connections. The biggest lesson I have learned is that having wonderful, nurturing and supportive creative friendships does not rely solely on being in the same physical space. In fact, people need something more multi-dimensional than that. But in person or not, there are some wonderful benefits to working with other people.
- Bouncing ideas off each other
- Trade materials and tools to try out
- Support…especially good when you are doubting every move you make
- A constant reminder to always push yourself forward
- Someone to help pick you up after defeat
- Exposure to new resources and places to get inspired
- A fellow artist who sends you random art bits in the mail
The great thing is, so many of those benefits can come out of a simple email exchange. I can’t count the number of times a friend has sent me a link that brought me to an inspiration rabbit hole filled with watercolors, typography, photography and pencil drawings. It’s always wonderful.
Besides seeking out support for yourself, don’t forget to be a help to others. Send encouragement as you see a friend working on a project. Offer a helping hand if someone is struggling (even just a hello).
So for you, for others, for the health of a general creative community, support each other. It’s always worth the effort.