Maybe you’re living in a place that isn’t on the cultural map. Maybe it’s out of circumstance, and you find yourself longing for the shiny social scene of a creative city. There isn’t a creative community where you are or a slick hipster-studded coffee shop on your corner.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be inspired by what’s around you.
I fell into this trap all through my life, and to be honest, it still bites at me sometimes. I’m a native Houstonian, and at 19 years old visited Seattle, decided to move there not knowing a soul and never looked back. Why? Because being part of a creative organism and community are that important to me.
I bet it is important to you too.
I’ve lived in some of the coolest cities in the states and also some that can be described as, well, normal.
Some of the best art, photography, music and film have come from places that you’ve never heard of. Washed Out‘s albums were created in his parent’s basement in Perry, Georgia.
Don’t get discouraged if you are in a place that is not ideal or on any of the top 10 lists of places everyone is moving to. Instead, I challenge you to cultivate the skill of finding inspiration in the everyday beauty of your surroundings.
Is it more challenging to live in a “normal” place when all you want is to run for the hills and find your tribe? Yes, my friend, yes it is. But shifting your perception to see the beauty of any place is the key to keeping up your art and creative momentum. Many people have left these big cities just to have space to breathe and let their ideas take shape without outside influence. Try to keep this in mind the next time you are aching to get away but feel “stuck” where you are. Creative space is important to have.
Here are some ways to do this.
Get out there
Even if the town you’re in isn’t conducive to walking, get out there and make your own trails anyway. Notice the structures, the grass, the native plants and wildlife that make up a place.
Take photos of small or big moments on your phone with the VSCO CAM app. Their sophisticated filters help turn normal moments into wondrous and enlightening images.
GREAT THINGS CAN HAPPEN WHEN YOU STOP TO SEE THE POSSIBILITIES.
Create a Community
Talk to people at the one coffee shop in town where you see others hanging out. Learn to spot other people like you and just start up a conversation. Go to any and all events that come through town that would attract your people.
If all else fails, try to start a Meetup group for your industry or hobby. Bring together other creative professionals that are just waiting for someone else to do it.
The fact is that we creatives exist in all places. Our lives are not cut and dry, so you will find interesting, stimulating people living in almost any town.
Find Your People Online
This is a no-brainer, really, and I’m sure you already have your favorite haunts online, but are you being social and really connecting with the people who help enrich and support you? Start a blog where you share only the work you really love to do, and watch others stop by to say Hi.
Look for Facebook Groups with people like you or hangout in a few specific sub-reddits. Search Twitter or Instagram for #creative, #(yourtown)creative or any hashtags that describe your interests like #photography, #abstractart, or #jewelrydesigner. Find people who use these hashtags and reach out to the ones that are in line with your style.
Whatever you’re into, there is a community that exists online for you.
A warning: Just like you can’t expect things to change by being a hermit in your house, be careful not to spend too much of your real world time on the internet either!