If I’m honest, creativity feels elusive sometimes. Just the word evokes some thoughts of wonder and mystique behind the whole concept of being “creative.” Despite being a professional “creative,” I find myself often wondering if I’m actually even all that creative. Looking around, I see incredible design by friends and Instagram follows alike. I see videos that have my jaw on the floor by the end. I hear songs that hit me right in the feels. And if I’m honest, my reaction a lot of times is jealousy, so I try to create like that.
A small example of that is whenever I see someone post the artsiest photo Instagram has ever seen. Well, I’ve got a camera on my phone, so I can outdo that – AND I’ve got Lightroom on my phone so buckle up because the edit is going to be next level. Post it and bam! Let the likes roll in. My photo has to be better in my mind. I know I’ll get more likes, and soon enough, I’m feeling like Ansel Adams. All in all a good three hours spent, right?
That’s probably not the healthiest comparison attitude to have, but I think it kills my creativity, too.
Creativity is all about pulling inspiration from the things around you and letting it fuel your own creative means.
Creativity is about seeing a photo and letting it inspire your next song. Creativity is about watching a movie; walking out of the theater and hearing a new song; and then going home and creating the best design you’ve ever made. Creativity is about seeing that artsy photo on Instagram and soaking in the photographer’s creativity as an inspiration for where you’re headed next. In short, creativity is about surrounding yourself with a community of inspiration.
Look at the great art movements in history. The Renaissance took root in the early 14th Century and is recognized today as one of the greatest creative movements in history with innumerable works of art deemed world famous. But take a second to think about what was happening at that time and the artists you know best from this movement: Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael. The great artists of the Renaissance were Italian. Now, I know there were many other pockets of great Renaissance artists throughout Europe, but what happened in Italy was special. What happened in the Italian community was special.
The Impressionist movement embodied a similar spirit in the late 19th Century as French painters were in community and creating some of the world’s greatest pieces of art from artists like Monet, Manet, Degas, and many, many more. During the French Impressionist movement, painters from around the world were moving to the village where Monet lived just to be near him in hopes of catching some inspiration and creating something themselves.
And now quickly skip to today. I think that if Monet was around, a lot of us would be inclined to compete and try to get more likes than him. Who knows, maybe Monet and Manet would’ve had a great “likes” rivalry?
What about us, millennials, today? What if we looked for a community to foster creativity and inspiration? In centuries past, these creative havens popped up in different spots around the globe. These communities formed because people were close, but it’s the 21st Century! We aren’t limited by where we live anymore. We have a global community in every aspect of our lives; there’s no need to convince you of that. So in turn, we should have a global community of creative inspiration right at our fingertips.
One of my favorite Instagram follows is an account @marla_moon. She’s a tattooer in Madrid, and her work is incredible! I’m by no means a tattoo artist, but Marla gives me incredible creative inspiration from halfway around the world. She doesn’t know that’s the case, but she probably should. In fact, hold on…
I just messaged her to tell her that. Why? Because I’m starting right now to create a community of inspiration. This global community of inspiration doesn’t just happen when we glean things from others, but when we encourage one another to be our creative best. It happens when we’re thankful for one another’s work.
If we all did that, in 200 years, people will be talking about how there was a creative movement unlike the world had ever seen and how it was all because of a community of inspiration.
So what next? How do we actually make this happen? Here are 4 quick tactics for what you can do before you even close this tab to build a community of inspiration:
1. Follow someone new on Instagram.
Millennials are often trashed for being too into social media, but why not embrace our love for hashtags and mentions to create a community of creativity. Just do some browsing and find someone who is posting stuff that you love, give them a follow and be liberal with the likes!
2. Build your network.
We’ve all heard the importance of networking when it comes to our careers, but what if we each had our own personal network of creativity and inspiration? We can follow people on Instagram and have our social media network, but we need more than that. We need people in our lives who challenge us to do new and better, and who make us create. So right now, text 5 friends and ask them if you can start talking about creativity. Challenge each other to create and celebrate each other when you do.
3. Pin it all!
Pinterest is the greatest. I enjoy being on Pinterest probably more than I should, but there is just SO much fantastic stuff out there! I have boards on boards for everything from home improvement projects, tips, design to cool marketing ideas. It’s the first place I’d go whenever I feel dried up creatively and need some inspiration. But if we want to be encouraging to each other creatively, we can’t just pin other people’s stuff. We need to be sharing our own creations, as well! Post what you create on Pinterest and send your inspiration out into the world.
4. Work with someone.
I always remember how annoying it was to work on group projects in school, except for when I got to pick my own group. When I got to work with a group whom we chose on our own, the creative juices started flowing; we ended up making something great. Now that you’re an adult, you don’t have a teacher to tell you who to work with. You can just decide on your own. So who is that person you’d like to work with on something? Hit them up and see what you can make together!
Those are just a couple of ideas that come to mind, but there are definitely more ways to build a community of inspiration. Share some of your ideas below! And in everything you create, remember to create it in the context of this global creative community because only then will we continue to push each other forward and be remembered as the most creative generation the world has ever seen.