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.
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!
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.