Don’t Bogart the Inspiration: Creativity Should be Shared

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Don

We are told in countless commercials featuring smiling people wrapped in festive attire that we are currently in a season for sharing. The belligerent motorists who steamroll us in the mall parking lots, however, convey an entirely different message altogether. Still, the idea of sharing – although sometimes rare or a bit abstract – is a good one. This is especially true for creative professionals. So often we live in solitary bubbles surrounded by only our own “brilliance,” chugging dedicatedly toward deadlines. Naturally, our engines run out of steam occasionally and the great ideas dry up or get recycled. And then what? We usually panic and yell at someone or beat our heads against an innocent laptop. But really, when it comes to staying inspired, maybe the answer lies within that simple concept of sharing.

Working on a variety of copywriting projects, particularly at this time of year, I tend to get stuck. My brains tells me there cannot possibly be anything original left inside of my mind and that I should just turn on reality TV and take a self-pity nap. As I baked and decorated cookies with my niece the other day, I realized what”™s been missing from my creative diet this whole time: collaboration. We weren”™t designing major feats of creative genius, but we did consult with one another regarding frosting choice, sprinkle application and the like. We cheered on one other”™s ideas and suggested ideas to make the projects better.

Likewise, the best artists who achieve longevity are those who lean on others in their field to help stay inspired. The Impressionists (who organized art shows together) and musicians like Prince (who plays anonymously on other musicians”™ records just for the experience) demonstrate the power of sharing their creative power in hopes of enriching their own artistic lives – and all by participating in something bigger than themselves.

This is not to say that I”™m the Matisse of cookie decorating, but I do feel like the New Year is a good time to collaborate and grow artistically. I”™m inspired to start that writing group I”™ve been threatening to form, I”™m taking on non-profit clients just for the experience and I”™ve made a commitment to visit more museums and see more theater. Sharing creativity with others and allowing myself to be inspired by my colleagues can only bring great things to my clients.

So let”™s hear it: How do you, dear readers, plan on staying inspired in 2011?

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