Most artists recognize the need to get with other artists, share their work, and get feedback (especially the writers among us). I've started three different writers groups (only one still running), and I've been part of all sorts of other groups for creative types. I currently have a spectacular group of playwrights I meet with a few times a month, and our interaction has certainly helped my playwriting develop more effectively than if I had gone it alone. I've moaned a few times about not having a similar group for my other genres of writing, and I'd LOVE a group where I could go and paint while other artists are also creating art.
This past weekend's writers conference introduced another idea to me, however. Instead of forming a group for critiquing work--so that we can bring in poetry or short stories, read them aloud, and figure out ways to improve them--several presenters were part of what they called a "creative group." Rather than bringing and sharing material, these people meet several times a month so that they can talk about the writing/painting/drawing/singing/music/etc. creative process. They share their fears about their own work, their goals, the struggles holding them back, stress, rejection, successes, etc.
They do not share and critique their work. In fact, the people in these groups come from every creative pursuit. Some are band members, some painters, some photographers, along with several kinds of writers. The creative genre isn't important. The pursuit of some sort of creative venue is all that is required. One of these groups has lasted more than 20 years!
So, what is the benefit of such a group? Consider what we do online right now, only in person. Support. Understanding. Reaching out and communicating with other people who are trying their hands and creative things. My husband loves me, but he doesn't understand my goals. He actually compares my writing pursuits and goals to his playing fantasy football (yes, that's as close as he can get, poor guy).
Oh, but to have people who may not go about their creative adventure in the same way, but who are on similar roads... that would be wonderful. When I felt like I should just give up writing, I'd have people who understood my misgivings. When I was elated, I could share that joy, too.
Hey, wait a minute! Am I a moron or what? I already have that! It's right here, right now, with all of you...
Bonus! (Now if you just lived around the block, life would be perfect!)