Creative Co-working

I’m a proponent of exploring new places, having new experiences, meeting new people and learning new things. When I do something new, I grow because I gain new knowledge. I believe growth is movement forward in life. As I’m writing this post, I’m trying something new today—creative co-working.

I stumbled upon a new-to-me podcast called The Unmistakable Creative one year ago. The podcast host has a creative network that runs on an app called Mighty Networks. (Note: I’m a tech-dinosaur, so, if I have my titles or app names wrong, please contact me and let me know. You deserve credit, and you shouldn’t suffer because of my ignorance!)

I joined the Unmistakable Creative network three weeks ago. The network consists of a community of creative people who encourage each other, support each other’s work and ideas, and explore new ideas of how to be more creative. A community manager hosts a co-working group that meets on Saturday mornings with the purpose of doing one hour of creative work. I’ve signed up for this co-working session three times, and I backed out twice. Today, I joined the co-working event.

Here’s the format of the co-working event, in case you’re new to co-working, like me:

  1. Enter the room: I entered the virtual video chat room using the Zoom app via a link posted by the community manager in the Mighty Networks app.
  2. Introductions: At the beginning of the hour, there are introductions. Everyone in the group has a chance to state their name, where they’re from, and what creative project/goal they are going to be working on for that hour.
  3. Co-work: After introductions, the camera goes off, microphones are muted, and everyone starts working on their creative project.
  4. Final check-in: After the hour is over, there is a final check-in and everyone has a chance to state the progress they’ve made on their creative project and how they felt the session went for them.

Before I tried this co-working session, I needed to mediate to calm myself down. I was nervous. Meeting new people is difficult for me. While I was meditating my mind was simmering with questions and doubts:

  • Why am I placing my creative life in the background?
  • Why do I give the stress from my day job permission to be my excuse for putting my creativity in the corner?

Quieting my mind was not happening for me. So, I turned off the meditation app, got my iPad ready for blogging, and I connected to the video chat and used the audio-only option. I don’t look fabulous on Saturday morning!

While people were introducing themselves, I quickly wrote down my name, where I am from, and my creative goal for the hour on a sheet of paper. Writing down my thoughts helps me articulate what I want to express. I recited the words from my sheet of paper when my turn came:

  • My name is Sara.
  • I live in Northwest Indiana.
  • My goal for this hour is to create a blog post for my blog I abandoned 4 years ago.

(I get nervous around people I don’t know. When I get nervous, everything I know or want to say goes out the window, unless I have it written down.)

After the introductions, I wrote for an hour. I enjoyed getting my raw thoughts out of my head in an unedited format. I felt creative, productive, and more confident after my hour was over.

During the final check-in I wrote down and said the following:

  • I loved the experience.
  • I wrote about the co-working experience for my blog post during the hour.

I would publish the post later in the day after I’d had a chance to edit the post.

Some lessons I learned during my experience today:

  • There is a tribe of like-minded, creative people out there. I was letting fear of the unknown stand in my way of finding those people. I am not alone. I had to find the courage to reach out and join the tribe.
  • I accepted myself today. By joining the video chat in audio-only mode, I accepted my fear and knew that’s where I was at this morning. I didn’t let my fear conquer me. Although no one could see me, they could hear what I had to say.
  • I showed up and did the work. Showing up played a crucial key to my success. Showing up to do the work is the hardest step for me.
  • I had a positive experience. Having a positive experience with this group made me want to go back on the next Saturday and keep creating. Negative experiences create negative associations. Today was a positive experience and a positive association with creativity as the result.
  • I am accountable for my actions. I can’t blame anyone else but myself for not doing the creative work. Having a community of people, a tribe, is a helpful resource but it’s just a resource—not a substitute for getting the work done.

If you’re reading this post thinking to yourself, “I’m not creative” and “This post doesn’t apply to me”, then you are wrong. If creative work isn’t your skill, then there must be something else. Celebrate yourself and your skills. I dare you!

The podcast host of The Unmistakable Creative always asks people how they would define what makes someone unmistakably creative? I love that question. I want to know what is your unmistakable skill? I know you have one! Leave me a comment or drop me a line at sarathlete@hotmail.com. I’d love to hear from you! I’d love to connect with you and hear or read what you have to say! I’m an unmistakable listener! No one would mistake me for an unmistakable talker.

Keep moving, exploring, growing and learning!

Sarathlete