If creativity often looks like magic made manifest, it never happens in a vacuum.
While anything our five senses pick up can inspire us and an idea often generates another, human connection can achieve so much more.
We are all tiny sparks and we’re at our best when we empower one another but the opportunity to do so is extremely rare. Despite being constantly hooked up to the internet, many of us lead disconnected lives, untethered from any community.
Freelancers like me often operate alone, occasionally joining forces with a fellow creator for the odd collaboration. And then we go back to doing our own thing.
No matter how self-motivated you might be, the sudden appearance of a kindred spirit changes absolutely everything.
When the constant itch to make something that wasn’t there before is shared, spontaneous idea generation soars.
And if you happen to have complementary skills and resolve to hold each other accountable then there’s no limit to what you might achieve both individually and together.
Like all the most precious things in life, creativity feeds on love.
Connecting dots and coming up with a new idea is only the first stage of creation and then you need to figure out how to turn it into a thing.
Left to our own devices, this is where many of us give up and are unable to follow through, be it through lack of focus or because we can’t figure out what how to go about it.
The more ideas you neglect and let die, the less frequent they become. The human mind is a garden and needs tending regularly, from fertilizing to weeding via watering.
Attempting to plant an idea in fallow soil won’t work. For example, if you find yourself without anything to write about, you may need to be more curious about life and review what you feed your heart and mind.
My vocation is a result of a lifelong appreciation for people, places, and prose as well as language(s). To me, writing is both an act of self-reflection and communication that builds bridges toward others.
However, getting back to it of my own accord after losing five years of my life to major depressive disorder was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
At the time, I was completely isolated and my work didn’t register as such in my household. I had to relearn how to do my job, one essay at a time. After such a long hiatus, both my journalism background and editorial skills needed reactivating.
It was — and remains — a process.
I also had to learn how to think again, as the inability to think is what had caused my writing voice to disappear in the first place. If the head of a depressive is the loneliest place on Earth, a hostile environment isn’t the ideal place to get it to function again.
And yet, it is possible if you’re desperate — or driven — enough.
I didn’t want to die so I started writing about life and this is how I fell in love with it all over again.
If vocation is love by any other name, creativity is the language it speaks.
Connecting with someone who is fluent in the same dialect as you is a life-affirming experience that rocks your world.
But you can’t go looking for such people. One day, you show up on each other’s radar and start wondering whether you might be two of a kind. Bear in mind you might not identify each other right away as discovery can be gradual rather than instant.
As you become part of each other’s creative landscape, you move into another head, get in sync, and develop some kind of tacit understanding. You learn to read each other’s hearts, too, and the more familiar you get with your partner’s work, the more intimate yours becomes.
It’s a strange symbiosis that cannot be engineered, only experienced and you’ll know it is happening when you start dreaming up collaborations. And can’t stop coming up with ideas for things you want to make together.
Crucially, a creative partnership is neither selfish nor competitive. Instead, it focuses on helping each other do and be the very best you can, providing support and encouragement every single step of the way.
A creative partnership is the most wondrous gift, one that illuminates every day and makes whatever you dream up alone and together look like possibility.
If or when such a meeting of the minds happens to you, cherish, value, and honor that fellow creative kindred spirit and the singular chemistry between you.
Then go be extraordinary, together.