Why having a community is so important

I’m about a week late on catching up on blogs and whatnot, and caught this great Creative Freelancer Conference recap from one of my favorite speakers (and people in general), Luke Mysse.

But in reading through to the end, I saw this comment from friend and awesome copywriter Alisa:

The in-between time is the most underrated portion of any conference. Sure, the sessions are good, but that’s just one person sharing their ideas. Lunches, dinners, drinks… those are the places where creative people play off of each other’s genius.

This is why I think it’s important for me to get out there more during the year: less time spent in sessions in hotel basements, and more time talking and collaborating with people all around the country. It’s less conventional but I’m betting that it will be infinitely more inspirational, and better because it’s spread out throughout the year.

How effing brilliant, I thought! And Alisa is dead-on.

I enjoy going to things like CFC and meeting a whole boatload of new people. But what I really enjoy is hanging out on trains, going to restaurants, talking to people on the way to the swag bags, talking to people in line while waiting for coffee. It’s those little sparks put together that sometimes create the larger ideas that move and shake us.

It’s those conversations with people of all kinds of walks of life and business perspectives that help me drive my own business or give me great ideas to implement. I enjoy those smaller groups because you can share things so much easier and the ideas come rapid-fire. Sometimes the encouragement comes rapid-fire, too. But any way you shake it, that tight-knit community is sometimes just as valuable — if not more valuable — than going to the big events and meeting a boatload of new people.

I am a huge fan of the standing date. My friend India and I try to get together every few weeks at a local coffee shop. We talk business, we talk design, we talk life. And I know I walk away feeling inspired and invigorated every time. (It helps that she’s super energetic and ambitious and that in turn, makes me feel like less of an old lump.) We share a lot of ideas and motivate each other. It’s one of the best few hours I spend on myself and away from business every month.

So, I love Alisa’s idea. Go out there and foster your small communities. Find people to collaborate with. Have standing coffee dates. And travel to talk to your friends. (I like to do that too, since I travel a lot and make it a point to get together with as many people as I can in a given city.)

I only hope Alisa makes a stop in my town ’cause I’d love to sit and chat with her too.  ;^)

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