I recently blogged about critique groups and what they can and can't do for you. Today, I want to talk about a twist on the critique group. It's a Creativity Group. I meet with one of these weekly and find it very helpful.
You may call it a writers' group or an art group. It doesn't matter. What matters is that it is a wonderful thing to get together with creative types on a regular basis.
1. Meeting with the group should recharge your creative batteries. After meeting with my group, I am ready to take on the world.
2. Individuals in your group will inspire you. Not only will you come away with new enthusiasm, but you'll probably come away with new insight and new ideas for your own work. I've found that when I'm giving suggestion to others, my brain is sometimes flooded with new ideas about my own projects.
3. When you're stuck, this group is where you can ask for help. Brainstorming is usually a strength of most creative groups. The group may not come up with the specific answer you're looking for, but they'll probably come up with enough new suggestions that it'll help.
4. Critique is often a benefit of a creative group. Some people don't want critique of their creative endeavors, but for those who welcome it, what better place to test out your latest story or painting. Many times a critique by a group of people you trust is just what you need. You'll learn things about your work that re-reading a million times won't tell you. There's nothing like a fresh set of eyes on your work.
5. Support. Because the work you and the other members of your group create is so personal, these are people you get to know very personally. Therefore, it's only natural that they will feel they have a stake in your success as well as in your overall well-being. Thus, folks will probably become some of the most important in your life.
If you're not in a group, I suggest you find one. There's nothing like it. I would also suggest that you move slowly and with care in forming the group. You will naturally want to put together the right mix of folks.