Just like the experience of reading a book alone is different from reading a book as a part of a book club, engaging in a creative pursuit alone is fine, but doing so with a friend – or friends – can add levels of understanding and enjoyment that aren’t accessible when done individually.
Whether it’s for one project or it blossoms into a long-term collaboration, finding a creative buddy has many benefits when it comes to nurturing and jump-starting your creative impulses.
Try Something That’s Unfamiliar To You Both
Every great explorer understands the benefit of having a travelling companion. The same applies as you delve into your creative side. Your buddy can be just the support you need to give you that extra bit of daring to go forth and try something new. Remind yourselves that success in the project is defined as having completed the experience – not based on perfection or getting it ‘right’.
Who’s The Boss?
Neither of you. And both of you. You’re the boss of you, not the boss of your buddy. It’s not up to you to instruct them on how to do anything or what colours ‘go’ together, or anything of that nature. What you can do for each other is be a support factor in terms of keeping you accountable for your commitment. You both agreed to have one poem written on Friday when you meet for coffee? By all means, check in with each other on Wednesday to see how things are going. And if things aren’t on track, be supportive, not demanding.
Narrow It Down To One Project
Keep it simple. We all have many commitments, so try not to make your creative pursuits compete for your time and attention. Set a goal to complete one project. For example: we will meet every Saturday for the next 4 weeks to make greeting cards.
Make It About Someone Else (Give It Away)
Want to really up the ante on your creative buddy project? Give yourself an assignment that will benefit somebody else. For instance: those greeting cards I mentioned above? Resolve to make them and then give them all away to senior citizens, a cheerful cashier, the newspaper boy, the maintenance man at work or just random people who look like they need encouragement.
Choose Your Buddy Wisely
It doesn’t have to be your best friend who you choose as your buddy for a project. But once you decide you want to find a creative buddy, you may be surprised at how many candidates there are in your life. There’s someone at work, or your club, or at church, some friend of a friend, who mentioned a shared interest in painting, or pottery, or cooking. Just keep your eyes and ears open and don’t be afraid to ask them to try a project together.
Be A Buddy… Not A Critic
When you’re working on your project, at some point, you and your buddy will want some feedback. Keeping in mind that your goal is not to teach or correct, but to explore your creative side, when it comes to giving feedback, agree to ask each other questions: not give corrective input. This is not to encourage a passive-aggressive kind of feedback but rather to truly help your friend delve deeper into their inner self for the answers he or she wants to unfold. If it’s a creative writing project, when you exchange stories for feedback, discuss how the story makes you feel, or how you feel about the characters. Not whether a comma or semi-colon should be used.
Two Sides/One Coin
Depending on the type of project, collaboration can add dimensions that enhance your results. Maybe you like to write poetry and your buddy loves photography. How about a project to combine the two? This type of collaboration means you can create a project that trades on your individual strengths. Again, kick it up a notch by inviting friends over for a performance of your poems set to a slideshow of your buddy’s awesome photography. Or publish your masterpiece in a quality coffee-table book (today, there are many services online that offer this affordably).
Having a creative buddy opens doorways in your imagination that you may not have explored if you were by yourself. View your project from a different angle, and remember to enjoy the process and you will inevitably be pleased with the outcome!