It Takes a Village … Sort of

We’ve all heard the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child,” emphasizing that no one does it alone. That’s true of our creativity, too. Welcome back to our final day together for this week’s The Writer’s Life.

Today, we’ll look at the final key to developing infinite creativity in your copywriting career:

Build a creative community.

“Community” isn’t synonymous with terms like “tribe” (Seth Godin) or “farm” (Dan Kennedy). It’s not a coaching group either, where one person is the expert telling everyone else how to do it.

So, what is it? It’s building a community of likeminded people with whom you can bounce off ideas. This is where people discuss – openly discuss – ideas in an encouraging environment that’s based on honesty and respect for the other person and his or her craft.

According to Dictionary.com, a community is, “a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and have a common cultural and historical heritage.”

As copywriters, we have a common cultural and historical heritage. Most of us are well-acquainted with AWAI and many of its programs, classes and courses. We’re a subculture of copywriters. We’re a community with a lot in common.

Enlarging our community means creating or becoming a part of other groups that will help to foster, encourage and contribute to your creative flow of ideas.

I have several of these of which I’m a part. Some are online, others are simply just done one on one. Others are regularly scheduled.

Just keep in mind, while there are many great coaching groups out there, it’s important to remember they’re not one in the same as a community. Simply because everyone isn’t on the same level. In the “coaching group,” there’s one person who is more knowledgeable than the rest and is there to help provide direction to everyone else.

How do you build your own “creativity community”?

First, turn your online connections to real-life connections. Finding an existing group may be as simple as tapping into your LinkedIn or Facebook and take it offline.

Another source for me is several contacts I’ve made thanks to AWAI Bootcamp. (That’s only one of many reasons why it’s important to attend!) I’ve met several people over the years that I correspond with on a regular basis. We help one another. They read what I write, I read what they write, and we honestly share what we think. Sometimes we talk and just “bounce ideas off of one another.”

Second, reach out to a mentor. I’m one of those people who respects the gurus in our business, but I also know they’re human beings. Many times I’ve met with some of these same people, and colleagues have asked, “How did you get that meeting?” I replied, “I asked.” Now I count several of these same people as friends.

Third, listen as much as or more than you talk. It’s important that, when someone you trust is giving you feedback on an idea or on something you’ve written, you listen. There are some people I know to tune out when they criticize my writing. Not all feedback is equally valuable. Before I blindly accept someone’s suggestions, I consider their motivation and my relationship to them. But, if someone is a member of my creativity community, I take note.

Creating the community is up to you. Get outside yourself and watch your creativity explode.

Do you have a “creativity community”? If so, how does it influence your writing? How often do you get together? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Published: July 4, 2014

7 Responses to “It Takes a Village… Sort of”

  1. I've enjoyed your articles. But one, little, nitpicky thing in this article bothered me. You wrote 'they're not one in the same as a community,' however I believe the expression should be 'one AND the same.' Take a look at public.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/oneinsame.html I try to avoid clichés and idioms just in case they're not universally understood. Otherwise, great job!

    Guest (Guest)

  2. Great week of posts, Bob. Thanks for all of it. You're so right about the creative community and how we contribute and receive from it. We have opportunities as copywriters today that those 40 years ago didn't have. So thankful for AWAI and all that's bloomed from it's members.

    Guest (Cyndee)

  3. creativity community, I think is a great idea, and if there is anything I can help with Please fell Free to ask.

    Larry Cole

  4. Well, I have started to form my community - I just happened to find that one of my former work mates is on the Accelerated 6 Figure Copywriting course and he and I are exchanging swap files, ideas and critiquing each other's exercises.

    I know it's a good idea - helping someone else also benefits me, big time. I have to understand why someone else's writing works and you have to direct him properly - so you best know your own stuff!

    Guest (Al)

  5. Communities don't raise children well, families do, however. Communities can be of big help to writers and any other professional, as you say.

    Guest (Geoff)

  6. 7/5/14 12:38 p.m. MST Utah time.

    I agree with you Mr. Bob 100%! Because you think exactly the way I think! *(When you are learning something new, it is better to listen more and talk less!), just like it is in life! Thank you for sharing and posting your thoughts with everybody else in the Golden Thread of this week.
    Walter.

    Guest (Walter)

  7. do you have any webinars that have replays that people can watch

    Guest (john)


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