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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