I’ve been thinking a lot lately about relationships. Specifically those that support and nurture our creativity.

Whether you’re making art or diving into any number of other creative pursuits, the creative process is often by nature a solitary activity. Personally speaking I’m entirely happy in my own company and prefer solitude over everything, but even I need support, encouragement and somewhere to share and receive feedback which will move me forward in my work. We are not islands, and nor are we meant to be, even the most reclusive and introverted among us. ;)

So here’s my conclusion; we all need a team.

The kind of team I’m talking about here is a creative team ~ these are people {and possibly also members who do not fall under the ‘human’ category eg. canine studio mates} who make up your personal cheerleading section. Each one is invaluable for your success and fulfilment as a creative being even though they may not all do the same job.

The other thing about this team is that they don’t all have to gather in a room with you, do things together or necessarily even know each other. Although that is also an option. The point is it’s your team,  and you build it in the way that will suit your individual needs best.

So who’s on your team? To give you some examples, these are my team members and how they add value to my creative endeavours.

me

Well, obviously. Without me there’s no need for a team! But joking apart, if I’m going to be successful creatively, in all the ways that word applies for me, I do very much need to be ‘on my own team’. Ultimately it’s me doing the work, putting in the time, dealing with the struggles and so on. If I’m not supporting and taking good care of myself, no one else can help me in a meaningful way.

creative source

Wherever you fall on the Woo Spectrum {oh my god I love that! Just made it up}, if you’re actively creative in any medium you must have experienced those moments where you seem to become merely the vessel through which the art comes, as you connect in to something greater than yourself. I’ve had experiences where I ‘wake up’ after a certain amount of time at the easel and don’t remember painting what I see in front of me.

Creative Source/Spirit/the Universe/God ~ whatever name you give it, you can be assured that no matter what it’s always on your team. {The trick is allowing it through!}

creative friends

These might be people you make art with, people you share your work with, perhaps in groups or classes online or off, anyone who is either creating things themselves or supports you in your own endeavours.

I have creative friends in online art groups – some of whom I may never meet in person but who are no less supportive, interested in and encouraging of my work –  fellow artist friends worldwide with whom I connect through email, and friends who while perhaps not actively creative in the way that I am, nevertheless form part of my team because of their ongoing support and love.

Also in this category I include your collectors; the ones who love your work and support you by buying it!

creative peers

These are the people who do similar work to you in your field – for me that means other artists and online course teachers, and various creative bloggers and business owners too. Again, many I may never meet face to face, but I have nevertheless made some real and deep connections with creative peers who know what it’s like to run a creative business, or traverse the ups and downs of making art.

a mentor or guide

Having a specific person to support you on your creative path is invaluable. If you do nothing else I recommend seeking out such a person, whether they’re a teacher, a coach of some kind, a mentor, even a friend who is travelling a similar path but is further along. I have one particular person I can turn to for anything at all, and then I have one or two others I can go to for specific advice, say about what a current painting needs, or to learn about running a creative business. Having someone ‘just for you’ {although of course they likely help others too!} helps with everything from confidence and accountability to learning new techniques or approaches.

 

If you feel like you’re often alone in your creative pursuits, or that those around you don’t understand or are unable for whatever reason to be supportive of your creative dreams for yourself, I really recommend starting to draw a creative team around you.

You might find a creativity coach, join a class with a teacher you admire, or a group with others like you looking for a place to gather and share, whether that’s virtually or in a local setting. I also recommend finding your own way to cultivating a constant connection with your Creative Source, somewhere you can turn to within when all else fails {and when it doesn’t!}.

My creative team evolves and adjusts like a living breathing organism; some ‘members’ come and go, some are constant. And they don’t all necessarily know they’re on my team! But I always know there’s somewhere I can go for support, encouragement, advice or simply sharing the joy of making art and living a creative life.

*******

The Creative Spark ecourse is now available as a self paced course, with the added bonus of an invitation to join the permanent Facebook group for all course participants! If you are without a creative team of your own this might be the perfect opportunity to find one, as you journey through six weeks of art and creativity, and after which you will have lifetime access to a group of artists who will always support and encourage you. 

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