Seeking and Fostering Community

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010 20
Posted in: Community, Refocus, SOOC

Since coming home from Squam Art Workshops, I’ve been thinking alot about community. I think that’s what makes Squam so magical–the community of creative and caring souls, all in one place, wanting the best for each other and themselves, yearning to express themselves, longing to be seen, and holding each other closely. I also think that’s why I loved it so. I’ve been seeking a creative community for some time–a group of people to really see me, to really hear me, to help me dive into new artistic endeavors even though I’m scared and hear the imposter demons in my head.

I’ve only lived in this town for three years and it’s been challenging to find my place. Extroversion and putting myself out there to meet new people is my strong suit, so that hasn’t been the issue. And people here are really very friendly. Friendly hasn’t been the issue either. It’s something else, something that’s hard for me to name. Don’t get me wrong, I have various pockets of friends–my book club, my running group–but not a circle where we talk about “the big things,” where we help one another on our creative journeys and on carving out a balanced life. So, like any self-respecting extrovert, I sought out to create such a group. And this handful of women, are *fabulous.* I love them. And we have done a few creative-y things. But…it’s hard for us to get together. We’re all busy. Life gets in the way. We have other obligations and responsibilities. And then when we do get together, we want and need to catch up. It will have been too long since we’ve last seen each other, so we chat, have wine, connect. And that is fabulous, too. But I’m still wanting the creative bits, the big dreams part, the diving in.

I think that is what finally nudged me into the blogosphere. I was still craving creative connection, and I was reading all of these terrific blogs written by wonderfully imaginative individuals and I was starting to find some semblance of community. I began to connect dots between blogs–I could see that certain bloggers had relationships with other bloggers, that they had created community among themselves. I could sense the ways they were nurturing one another, leaving comments on each others’ blogs, tweeting and re-tweeting their friends’ updated posts. And although it wasn’t my primary motivation for starting Life Refocused, I do think my unconscious mind was working on my search for creative community. And, I’m beginning to find it and feel it.

Since stepping into the other side of blogging, from reader to writer and photographer (dare I name myself!), I now realize more fully the importance of the Comments section. As a reader, I often lurked on blogs, reading my favorites regularly, but very rarely commenting. At the time, I felt like the person writing the blog didn’t know me and would think I was weird or not clever enough in my comments. I didn’t have my own blog to link to, so it wouldn’t be the situation that I described above–you know, the whole inter-blog-love-thing. So I lurked. And every once in a while, I left a comment or two. But now…now, it all seems *so* different. As the writer of a blog, I want people to stop by and I really want them to comment, to say hi, to share if something resonated with them. I so value every person that clicks over to my blog, and I treasure each comment that people take the time to leave. It matters to me. Alot. (See previous post on validation issues.) I am realizing that those comments create community, regardless if the person is someone I know or is someone who has a blog. I’m simply grateful they came by and let me know they did. I’m thankful that people are seeing me, that they are encouraging me on my creative path, that they are sharing a part of themselves.

In an effort to seek and foster creative community in person, I returned to a knitting group that I was invited to last year but haven't attended in about 8 months!

Because I’ve had this epiphany of late, I want to commit to de-lurking even more. I want to come out from the shadows of the blogs I read, and comment, supporting my fellow bloggers. I want to be intentional about fostering community. After all, it can’t be one-sided such that I’m only seeking creative connection. I want to encourage others on their artful journeys as well. And I hope that some of you will join me in sharing your thoughts and reactions, on my blog and others. Stop by and say, “hi.” You’re always welcome here.

Oh–and my circle of fabulous women here in town, we’re making it work. I have no doubt.

20 Responses

  1. Karen says:

    what you are seeking and speaking of is exactly why I started blogging and tweeting, there is a world of support out there and like you I have friends but we don;t share the same interests in creativity and community so the blogosphere has been so great. I hope to keep in touch through blogs with you and our fellow squammies.

    Karen D

  2. Emily says:

    Enjoying your photos and words here today — and looking forward to becoming part of your community. What I will tell you after blogging for more than 2 years is that comments are wonderful – BUT don’t use them as a measure of your community. Those lurkers are enjoying you just as much as the commenters – and often just don’t have the time or immediate inspiration to share a thought. And it is really cool when you come across someone in person who quotes your blog and tells you how much they enjoy it — and you didn’t even know they were reading! I have a good sense you will have many followers here — both known and unknown — and I have a sense you will embrace them all.

  3. melissa says:

    It was great to connect with you at Squam and so glad we can stay connect via the blog world. Of course I hope we can see each other again because while the online world is great…I still crave the face to face connection! Love reading your blog…so glad you have a space to share.

  4. Lindsey says:

    I feel much the same way (as I think you know!) – it’s been such a joy to meet you and I am always inspired by reading your words and viewing your photos. I so wish I’d been able to be at Squam – it really sounds amazing. Next year?
    Thanks for all the ways you help call me back to what matters.
    xo

  5. Tom D says:

    Comments are such great validation, and seeing as you’ve been leaving so many for us lately, I thought it was time to return the favor.

    And I don’t think craving validation counts as an “issue.”

  6. Susannah says:

    i find there isn’t always time to leave all the comments i’d like to leave, but a well-timed smiley often does the trick

    😀 x

  7. Meghan says:

    A smiley is *never* ill-timed and almost always does the trick! xo

  8. Tammy says:

    Nicely said Meghan!! I’m in the same boat so thanks for the advice! I loved being your cabin mate at squam and know we will stay connected!
    xoxo

  9. Amy says:

    I love how you are being bold in putting yourself out there! Love to you.

  10. Sarah Jean says:

    Beautiful words and beautiful images (and gorgeous profile pict — makes my heart happy). I love your thoughts on creative community. Hope to be of some help with the local creative community 🙂

  11. Howdy! Yikes…I haven’t checked in for too long! Your pictures are just wonderful. So glad you got to experience some time away to indulge in your creative self. Keep it up:)

  12. Jolie says:

    Meghan, your words here make so much sense to me. I’m going to Squam by the Sea in October and I’m so looking forward to the community there. I’m sad that our Squam paths didn’t cross– hopefully next year!

  13. Meghan, Thanks for commenting on my very first post! And yes, DO name yourself- boldly and unapologetically! 🙂

  14. Tawyna says:

    Hi 🙂 I’ve been blogging since late 2008 and have been very sporadic in my posting. I started it to keep my creative writing juices flowing and also to possibly make similar connections you’ve mentioned. 2009 started off really bad and left me not quite as motivated to continue. I came to realize that the more I blogged, just getting stuff out helped me to not only overcome the grief I was dealing with (to a point) but also brought me to really examine myself and learn more about myself. Even if the majority of my handful of commenters over the past two years have been my real-life friends, I still feel like I’ve conquered a lot.

    Love your blog 🙂 and adore your photographic eye.

  15. Nicola says:

    Beautifully put Meghan. I think if we can all take a bit of that Squam magic of connection and community into our everyday lives the world will be all the better for it. And congrats on “expanding” into the title of writer and photographer : )

  16. Jennifer says:

    I love your blog!! When I was in Houston, a group of gals got the book “The Artists Way” and its sole purpose is to help reconnect with your creative side. I am obsessed with the journaling, although I don’t do it every day anymore. I admire you for putting yourself out there and everything you have written resonates with me. 🙂

  17. Heather says:

    Hi, Heather here, one of the girls meeting you in Oregon in June. Very much excited to be putting together thoughts of starting my own blog and this bit here did much to inspire me more! Thank you for that, yes I do want to connect with a creative community and darned if I have haven’t had an easy time of that. This whole blog thingy will be cool and cheers to you on your artistic journey!

  18. Emme says:

    Ahh, I was at Squam last year, and I SO know where you are right now. I’m loving the journey, and the community that I’ve found myself in every since. And now, so looking forward to our special time next June. *sigh* Good things are happening! Yay!

  19. jen gray says:

    xo!so glad we met!!!

  20. i’m right there with you..wanting that community, nurturing the friends we have, wanting the community. we’re getting there honey, we are!

    xoxo

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