Creatives unite!

Bringing your creative community closer, blog post on Gillian Tracey Design

Happy Friday, friends! This week has been a hectic one for me, with each day being filled to the brim with work and side projects. It's weeks like this that make me crave time with my friends and members of my creative community. When my creativity and energy levels are running low, there's nothing like brainstorming and dreaming big with fellow designers and artists to get me excited and inspired to create.

As creatives, it’s essential to have a community of other imaginative people we can bounce ideas off of and share struggles and successes with. As they say, birds of a feather flock together. But besides people bonding over similarities in their field, why is a creative community so important and how can you bring your circle closer?


The importance of a creative community

Opportunity to brainstorm and share ideas 
I’m fortunate enough to share an office with another designer, who is also a very talented photographer. When I get stuck on something or need a second set of eyes, I can quickly ask for his opinion. Plus, we have some pretty fun brainstorming sessions about designing magazine covers or styling photo shoots. Even if we don’t end up using the ideas we talk about it’s still good to get the creative juices flowing and have a full reserve of ideas just waiting to be used. 

No man is an island, and I’d say that is particularly true of those who work in a creative field. While I have a fellow designer sitting ten feet from me, some of you may freelance full time and therefore have to seek out your fellow creatives more intentionally. If you know other designers who work from home, maybe try sharing an office together on occasion or schedule time to get coffee with them to catch up and talk about projects you're working on.

Support from those who have similar struggles
There’s something so satisfying about being able to text a friend about a frustrating, challenging design project and they 100% know where I’m coming from. As creatives, I'm sure we've all been self-critical of our work from time to time (I know I have!). It's easy to do, but having friends who can sympathize and share an encouraging word helps us all realize we're not alone in our endeavors. When you have a creative community within reach, you’re able to talk to other people who share your struggles and can join you in celebrating your triumphs! 

Make connections that open up new doors
Beautiful and exciting things come from brainstorming with other imaginative people. It’s great to talk with other designers because it’s always interesting to see their knack for finding creative solutions shine through in different ways. However, it’s also great to exchange thoughts and ideas with people who are outside your field since they may have a new perspective and help you consider options you had never thought of before! 

They just get it. 
For me, having friends who appreciate and understand the intricacies of beautiful design work gives me the chance to geek out about something I'm passionate about. Just like photographers love talking to other photographers about the lighting or the shallow depth of field that was used in a photograph. Basically, it's just really great having friends who understand your craft and can admire beautiful work alongside you. Camaraderie at its finest!


Bring your circle closer

Be intentional about spending time with your fellow creatives
When you have a full-time job, freelance work on the side, an exercise schedule to maintain, a relationship to nurture, etc., it can be way too easy to get wrapped up in just getting by with what needs to be done in a single day. Adding time with friends can be difficult to prioritize when so many other things are in need of your attention. For me, it takes a lot of intentional action to stop and ask friends what their plans are. At first glance it may seem like something that can be pushed back behind the urgent things on your to do list, but in reality spending time with people who are within your creative circle helps prevent burnout and aids in motivation and inspiration. Don’t get caught up in the busyness; it’s worthwhile to take a breather and spend time with your fellow creatives!

Ask for help
When you’ve hit a wall on a project, reach out to your creative tribe for inspiration, feedback or schedule a brainstorming session. The amount of quality ideas that come out of a group of creative minds working together is truly amazing!

Plan a trip
Going on a trip is always fun because it means a break in routine; even just the planning portion of a trip is exciting. What makes a trip even better is when you bring your creative friends into the mix. I think that by removing yourself from the daily grind and outside distractions, it really opens up the opportunity for creative restoration and TONS of inspiration from your peers. I have a couple friends I went to college with, and the three of us took a road trip to western Canada the summer after we graduated with our graphic design degrees. With cameras in hand, we camped, explored, hiked and star-gazed in the mountains. The scenery alone was worth the trip, but what really put the icing on the cake was my travel companions. Our pace along the road was dictated by how many times we wanted to stop and photograph a vista or a cluster of wildflowers. With no schedule to maintain or to-do list to worry about, I felt myself decompress and my creative reserves refill to the point of overflowing. So, I suppose the moral of my story is to go somewhere beautiful and inspiring with kindred creative spirits, whether it’s a road trip to a state park or hopping on a plane to a big city! Talk about design stuff, or just enjoy the company. Either way, your soul will be refreshed from the adventure and you’ll be inspired to do great things!

There are so many ways to interact with other creatives, especially with such a large community available through social media. How do you bring your creative community closer? What are some ways you can encourage your creative friends? I'd love to hear about it!