Finding your own artist's circle
Hey my loves,
Many moons ago when I first made my way through The Artist‘s Way I asked a small hand full of my friends, who I knew were also creatively active, if we‘d like to set up a regular meeting to share our work, discuss our experiences, help each other when we struggle and to support our crazy ideas. Our ZÖAKL was born. (It‘s an Austrianized version of the word circle.)
It was about reading our poems, our short stories, our songs, we shared our plans for the next theatre project that felt way too big, too crazy to do, but we strengthened each other and helped finding or maintaining focus. Occasionally we did some exercises, we laughed, drank a lot of coffee or tea, held each other when we needed a shoulder, understood when the disappointment of a rejection was overwhelming, when an audition that didn‘t work out, when a piece of writing was ignored by the publisher, when self doubt became bigger than our believe and hope.
We met on a weekly basis for many years until our lives moved us to different countries.
It was before Zoom or even stable Skype connections. So we didn‘t keep up our regular meetings online as we are able to do now. But we still have our friendships and everytime I see them, most of the times individually, there is still this very special connection and I appreciate that we are these supportive pillars in each other’s lives to this day.
This is what the artist‘s circle has been for me for many years. A group of like-minded people who support each other through the jungle of crazy ideas and understand that creativity needs bravery and courage to enter the room of the unknown.
I think it‘s incredibly important for the creative to have a group of people around them, whether it‘s physically in the area where you live or online who are like-minded and supportive. Where you feel like you can share anything and you will feel comfortable about it, because you know they will not destroy your crazy idea while it‘s still a baby plant, but will help you to find the right fertiliser, learn how much water and care this plant needs to grow into what it is meant to be.
Think about who in your area or in your network, you can absolutely consider your worldwide network, there is zoom, google hangout, …. who do you think could be interested in being you artist‘s circle? Who could benefit from it, like you would?
Why not sending a friendly message introducing the idea and ask them? Not too many. I find a circle of 5 to 10 people is just right.
Maybe not everyone will jump on the train, that‘s okay too? It isn‘t the right thing for everyone.
Think about how often you want to meet. What platform you want to use. If you are able to meet in person, where is a good place to meet and talk for a few hours. I would recommend to plan for 2, maximum 3 hours.
A definite beginning and a definite end will help with people taking it more seriously.
Express what you are hoping this group will be for everyone.
And then just set up the first meeting.
On your first meeting listen to everyone to hear what their creative endeavours are, but you should also encourage them to share their ideas for your circle. Make sure everyone gets to speak and find a way to moderate when some tend to speak a lot more than others. Encourage the introverts to also talk. Make sure they feel part of the game.
Think about exercises you can propose for all participants to do so you also have some common ground for your following meeting.
Make sure you discuss some rules that are important to you, like punctuality, no phones during the meeting, being respectful, gentle and encouraging with each other.
Listen to concerns and negotiate solutions.
If you can‘t find enough people in your network, you could either reach out through for example dedicated facebook groups, but there are already open artist‘s circle available online you could check out and see if this is something that could work for you.
On my Patreon page I have set up a monthly circle you could have a look at. It‘s free for all „Something special“ and above Patreons. There is of course limited space, because otherwise it can‘t fulfill what it is set out to achieve. But maybe it‘s something you like to explore or take inspiration from to make your own one.
I wouldn‘t be the artist I am today if I hadn‘t had my ZÖAKL. It is to this day near and dear to my heart and everything I creatively do is rooted in one or the other way in this particular bond between a hand full of talented, brave, like-minded, brave, sometimes a little crazy, big hearted artists.
I hope I could give you an idea what this artist‘s circle is and inspire you to build your own one. It‘s powerful!
Share your ideas and questions in the comments below. Like this video, share it if you feel like it could be beneficial for someone and subscribe to my channel if you haven‘t already.
Lots of love,
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Romana Carén is an actress, film and theater maker (writer & director), and singing instructor sharing her experience with juggling all her creative interests, the struggle to feel that you have to decide to be good at one of them, to constantly feel the drive to learn more, learn something new and how this inner artist can be set free to express itself in a healthy and fruitful way.
THE VERSATILE ARTIST