Friends & Creativity


Friends

I’m doing double duty this month during the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Here at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker, I will share ways to increase your creativity. I’ll also be doing the challenge at Facing Cancer with Grace, where I will share posts that focus on caregiving. I hope you’ll visit me at both sites. While you’re here, sign up for my email list. Today’s post is F is for Friends & Creativity.

Friends & Writer’s Block

In the last couple of days, I’ve felt blocked. Although I have a lot to get done, the words just don’t seem to want to come. The bad news of my husband’s health declining sent us into reaction mode. I’d previously scheduled some one on one time with 2 wonderful friends this week. Each of these women is so special to me. They have been such supportive friends. Despite the fact that I did too much of the talking, they were each gracious and understanding. Afterward, I felt very motivated to get my projects done. It got me thinking about to the value of friends in our creative process.

Henry Ford once said, “My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me.”

That’s one of the blessings a truly good friend. They’ll be honest with you. And you can be vulnerable with them, letting them see you for who you really are; not just the things you wish you could change, but the qualities that make you shine. Sometimes we hide those things from the world, or we don’t recognize them, ourselves. But our friends do. Something as seemingly unconnected to the creative process as friendships can actually have a profound impact on it.

A More Direct Connection

There is something known as a Brain Hub. When you want to be very successful you surround yourselves with people who are brilliant in that area. This is why all of the Internet geniuses are hanging out in Silicon Valley and politicians go to DC. There is something very practical about these sort of gathering areas. That’s where the business is happening.

Real, Creative Friends

So if you are a creative type (and I assume you are, since you’re reading this) how do you go about surrounding yourself with creative friends? In some ways, it’s getting more difficult in a social media world. Often people think that because they are following the “right” people on Twitter, they will be in the know. The truth is, you need to nurture true friendships. That’s the only way you will become better at your craft.

Friends

 

In my case, I’m a writer. So, I want to be with other writers and learn from them. That includes reading their work and discussing it. It means letting them read my work and getting their feedback without feeling the need to make excuses for problems that show up.

You want to find someone who is similar in their style to yours. A modern artist specializing in sculpture wouldn’t get as much from a portrait painter, in terms of helpful input. That’s of course, not a hard and fast rule. In creative endeavors, there are many well-rounded individuals who can give great advice about genres dissimilar to theirs. You’d both have to have that ability, though. For example, I’m not a fantasy reader or writer. I’ve gotten great critiques from fantasy writers, but I always feel like my return critiques fall flat. My opinion is useless because I don’t understand the genre.

Friendships foster creativity beyond the professional realm.

You can spend a couple hours with your best friend and unpack your lives together. Doing this will help you to reframe your perspective of the things you’ve been thinking about and the things you’ve avoided confronting for far too long. These honest conversations can spur you on to deeper things in your work, and unblock the road you are meant to travel on in a project.

As an introvert, it’s difficult for me to be in groups of people, but those intimate conversations with someone I trust, are wonderful. I find time spent with a close friend to be very refreshing; better than any visit to a therapist.

While you’re here, sign up for my email list to get a periodic email newsletter to encourage your creativity.

What are YOUR thoughts?

I’d love to hear in the comment section, below. I appreciate my readers as well as the writing community. To show that appreciation, I use Comment Luv. Just leave a comment below and your latest post will get a link next to it. Thank you!

About Heather Erickson

I am an author, writer, and speaker and homeschooling mom of 3. Since doctors diagnosed my husband, Dan with stage IV lung cancer in 2012, I’ve focused my writing and speaking on helping cancer patients and their families advocate for themselves and live life to the fullest, in spite of their illness. My goal is to help people face cancer with grace.

My book Facing Cancer as a Friend: How to Support Someone Who Has Cancer, is available at Amazon.com.

I also blog about living with cancer at, Facing Cancer with Grace.

My Family
The Erickson Family, Photo by Everbranch Photography

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11 comments on “Friends & Creativity

Your post made my heart both smile and beat just a little bit harder for you and all that you’re going through with your husband. I’m so grateful you have the strength of your friends to draw upon when you need them. I’ll hold you and your family in my heart. What a well-written post. Thank you for sharing this part of you with us, and also giving people hope. You’re inspiring others.

Elsie

Thank you, Elsie. I can’t imagine getting through life (the good times or the bad) without family and friends (Foo-Family included ;).

They are so hard to find, Heather! I’ve known so many who were of the ‘fair weather’ sort. I find it hard to trust. But exactly what you describe, I find in my husband. I am so thankful for that!

I wish that I knew you in person, Heather. I so admire your attitude towards life and your love of your friends and family.
True friendships are indeed invaluable. My oldest friend, Kim, I’ve known since our mothers met in the hospital giving birth to us. She’s a visual artist and I’m a writer so we have some interesting conversations about creativity.
F is for (The) Faraway Nearby

Hi Jacqui. You are so right about fair weather friends. I had previously been hurt by that sort when I went through a divorce about 10 years ago. Then I met my husband. I’m very introverted, so my husband was my only real friend for the first 3 years that we were married, and that was just fine by me. Then, he got sick and I felt very much alone. My sister-in-law reached out to me and she became my best friend. I decided I would need to push myself beyond my comfort zone and be more social, at least one on one; I’m still not comfortable in groups. I met some very caring people. My husband is still the person I’m closest to, but it’s nice to know I have others in my life I can trust and care about. I always tell my daughters, who are all as introverted as I am, you only need one or two really good friends. Sometimes it’s hard for them to find just one.

Hi Karen. How remarkable! What a special way to become friends. It’s also very cool that you are both creative people. I’ve met some of the neatest people through blogging activities like A to Z. You are one of those people 🙂 Have a wonderful day!

Friends are extremely important for creativity. I don’t think I could even begin to write anything without bouncing ideas with someone, and creative people inspire me a lot. Great post, thank you! 🙂

The Multicolored Diary: Weird Things in Hungarian Folktales

I have a handful of close friends who know me well and have been there through thick and thin, I have my lovely husband who is the closest friend of all, I have my mum, my daughter and my DIL who I’m close to, and I have my blogging friends who encourage and inspire me. I feel like my friendship boxes are well and truly ticked – it’s a blessing indeed.

Leanne | http://www.crestingthehill.com.au
G for Give More

Thank you, Tarkabarka. I love bouncing ideas off of my family. I don’t always take their advice, but I will often ask. Have a great weekend!

Hi Leanne, Good friends and family make such a difference in our lives. This morning our whole family including all of my husband’s siblings and parents and their families, went out for donuts and coffee at a local bakery. It is a great reminder of what we have. Have a wonderful day!

Creative friends are the best for help with our own creativity, and outlook on life — creative all around.
Lovely post.
Silvia
https://silviatomasvillalobos.wordpress.com

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