I had an amazing writers’ group. But for years, I still had trouble doing my creative work.
Here’s how it went: Every time it was my turn to submit, I felt the deadline looming. I pushed against all kinds of resistance to get my piece done. Sometimes I succeeded, but sometimes I failed. Sometimes I handed in something that wasn’t fully polished. Other times I didn’t finish and had to offer my spot to someone else.
This cycle repeated itself over and over.
So, even though I had a great group—-insightful readers who were great at seeing and unlocking a piece’s potential, a supportive and incredibly helpful group with great social dynamics–I began to question: Why am I here? If I can’t get enough feedback because I’m not writing enough, is it worth it to stay?
Eventually I left.
This illustrates the limitations of any group–no matter how supportive, insightful, visionary, or helpful.
** You see, an artist’s group only addresses a VERY SMALL part of what you need to do successful creative work. **
Here’s what groups are good at: Giving you an external deadline that may help you create. (If you have very mild resistance or blocks, this may be enough. Any more though… and good luck!) Giving you a peer group for artistic exchange and professional connections. Giving you feedback after you create the work.
(This is assuming you have a good group. Bad groups can mean substandard feedback, unhealthy competition, weird social dynamics, flake-y members, and people who are trying to turn your work into a version of theirs–instead of the best version of itself. They can even wound you creatively.)
Good writers groups are invaluable.
But, here’s what they DON’T do:
* Help you identify and handle internal resistance, procrastination, or anxiety that gets in the way of your creative work.
* Coach you through the emotional and logistical challenges of being an artist
* Help you work through scheduling challenges and develop your optimal creative work schedule
* Help you set up your sources of income so you have more time and money to create
* Identify and heal family stories that get in your way (“People like us can’t be creative” or “You can’t make money doing what you love”)
* Support you in day-to-day efforts to stay in the creative flow and do your work
* Help you create the long-term, intermediate, and short-term creative goals that enable you to create a finished work
* Discover and deal with the unconscious ways your “emotional make-up” limits the quality of your work
* Take you on a deep personal exploration of the “truth” within your work–so you can create a work of incredible complexity, depth, and power
If you’ve been trying to finish a creative project for years, it’s a mistake to think your writers group is the answer. (Your group is not enough. If it were, you’d be finished by now!)
If you regularly deal with procrastination, or you always feel too busy to do your creative work, your writers group will not change that.
If your work feels dry and uninspired, or if your creative work and career have plateau’ed, you need to go deeper to bring out your inspiration and brilliance. Your group cannot take you there.
Your writers group is not supposed to do these things.
But that 360-degree support is crucial. Without it, your creative work can founder for years.
* Support to make sure you’re “ALL IN”–instead of stymied by internal fears or resistance
* Coaching on how to set up your life so you have the time, money, and space to create
* Guidance and structures to help you actually DO the work
* Support in doing the highest QUALITY of work (including how to find a good artists’ group!)
* Accountability and coaching to keep you going until you FINISH
The CREATE! Mastermind supports you in all the elements necessary to do the “breakout” creative work that will establish you professionally. If you could use that, stay tuned.
P.S. If you know you’re interested, email me with “CREATE! Mastermind” in the subject line. I’ll make sure you don’t miss the announcement!