Picking Your Creative Company

My mom LOVES art museums, kayaking, and reading really good books, but she doesn’t particularly love sunbathing so I don’t ask her to go with me to the beach. I could ask her and then feel bummed out when she doesn’t want to. Or, I could not go at all. Or, I could go alone or with someone who does like the beach. Pretty friggin simple, right?

Yes and no, as I haven’t always been so savvy when comes to other, less tangible, things.

When I was in 5th grade, I wrote a short story. It was fiction. It may have been about alligators – I can’t remember, but I was VERY excited about it. At the same time, I had the sense it wasn’t quite finished. I wanted someone to read it. I chose to share it with my friend Penelope (this is not her real name) who laughed at me and said “You wrote a story? Oh. My. God. Why? That is so weird.” She only said this after I had actually handed it to her so she wouldn’t miss out on the opportunity to read some of it so she could make more specific fun of me. For whatever reason, she was kind of like that.

So why did I give it to her? On some level, I knew she was a bad choice but I was hungry for creative feedback. I could’ve chosen one of my nice friends, but I had the feeling that my nice friends would just say it was great no matter what and that wasn’t what I wanted either.

Since Penelope was smart and opinionated I thought she could shed some light. But I forgot that she liked to sit in the balcony seats of the Muppet guys commenting on what everyone else was doing. (For more on the Muppet guys, go here).

Lesson learned. Looking back, I realize I benefited greatly from this experience because it helped me pick my creative company more wisely.

As a adult, I call friends who also like to make things or, I go on writing retreats where we sit in a circle and listen to each other. I’ve also created and fostered this kind of nurturing environment in the Soul Songs Luminaries Artist Mentoring Group. It’s a beautiful thing to witness someone in the process of making something or birthing a song. It’s amazing, but the company is really key :)

What about you? Are you good at choosing your creative company? Did you ever sabotage yourself by asking the wrong person to look at your creative work or hear your idea? What’s the best creative experience you’ve ever had with another person or group?

Please, feel free to leave a comment below :)

PS: I can’t wait to share with you the new upcoming interview series “How The Song Came To Be!” It’s going to be amazing!! Stay tuned for more details in the next few weeks!

2 thoughts on “Picking Your Creative Company

  1. I loved this. And had to read the muppet one (possibly a second time). Your emails have always come right on time. I think that inner critics are the hardest to overcome. I think that this also makes forming and finding a creative circle difficult because of the lack of confidence and the over abundance of self-doubt. It is almost like a vicious circle with, what appears to be no easy way out). I imagine the amount of vulnerability in the sharing. That type of experience and risk and thereby connection to be so alluring and promising yet the insecurities and/or anxiety make it seem almost surreal.
    Thank you for your sharing.

    • Kristen,
      Thanks for sharing! I think finding those self-doubts, what the thoughts actually are, and then asking if they are really true and finding a more true reframe. Whatever the thought is, say it’s: No one will understand me. The reframe might be: Some people will understand me and that will feel good. Or whatever. I think if we don’t acknowledge our doubts a little, they have too much power. At the same time, sometimes laughing is my best cure!

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