Ask yourself— are you part of a creative group? Some of you might be surprised to find that you are indeed part of a cosmic creative entity responsible for making so many of your ideas happen.
Because, let’s face it, most ideas don’t happen from start to finish with just one person. The lone genius is rare.
Claude Monet (admittedly my least favorite painter) was the founder of Impressionism, but the movement itself arose from a group of fellow artists. You’d be surprised to hear that this creative group was composed of Monet, Renoir, Bazille, and Alfred Sisley, later expanding to include Manet, Degas and Cezanne. The original group of four often lived and worked under the same roof, harnessing their resources, inspiring each other to take risks, and learning from each other’s mistakes.
The idea of creative groups isn’t new— writers do it, super secret Yale societies do it, and photographers do it too. What really compelled me to write this post was the ah-ha moment I had on page 135 of Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky, which you should all immediately download on your iPad. In this chapter, Scott details all the merits and rewards you can obtain with being part of a creative group that does just what the Impressionists set out to do in the late 19th century: change the world.
I had always known I was part of a diverse and rewarding creative group, but I never really KNEW the power that it had over me personally, professionally, and creatively. I’m really proud to say that I am part of an amazing creative group. My creative group is composed of business owners in the wedding industry who I consider to be visionaries. They’re all really smart, hard working, motivated people who just so happen to be creative idealists. We talk about everything from business (branding, employees, clients) to creative (projects, ideas, pie-in-the-sky-dreams, collaborations) to personal (babies, marriage, friendships, struggles, triumphs).
I started out on my journey in self employment as the lone genius, thinking that every great idea had to come from me— mostly a product from my upbringing as an only child. Art school had taught me to collaborate with people, and when an opportunity arose to do so, I was easily able to re-transition. My creative group has refined my business strategy, made my work with clients better, propelled my event design beyond what I thought I was capable of, and allowed me to lead an exceptionally rewarding career. I couldn’t have done it without my creative group. There, I said it. I’m not 100% responsible for my happiness or success. Some of the great ideas that you see out there with my name on them didn’t come from me— but from others— who planted the seed and motivated me to do something.
My creative group talks everyday by phone and email. We’re ingrained in each others lives. We don’t have any kind of formal meeting or schedule— we just exist in our individual worlds and together. But don’t use our format as an example— maybe structure and formalities will work well for your creative group in the beginning. Forming a creative group isn’t easy and I have to say, I am really lucky. Lucky to be surrounded by so much talent, enthusiasm, drive, and brilliance. My hunch is, though, that you are too. If you are not in a creative group right now, look around you. Look outside your industry if you have to. Start introducing your friends to one another— get together for dinner, lunch, cocktails, a project and see where it goes. All it takes is a little movement on your part to get the wheels spinning. The possibilities are endless!
I’d love to hear about your creative group, what you work on together, and how you function. Are you part of a creative group?