Connect… For Real

Connect... For Real - Dance Notes creativity blog for teachers

Sometimes, when working within a ‘creative bubble’, it’s possible to get bogged-down. That’s when you need to connect.

Always ‘On’

People will often ask ‘have you got much on at the moment?’. This is a well-meaning and vague question that’s really only intended as small talk. However, if you are a freelance creator, it can be quite triggering. The reason being that you always have a potentially infinite amount ‘on’.

How so? Because your work is self-generated. Much of what you do may be determined by the needs of others. However, in between such work, you will always be striving to improve your craft, discover new methods, find new means of expression, etc. So, in effect, you are always ‘on’.

Like Minded

Not only does this highlight the need to know when and how to switch off (discussed elsewhere) – it also demands coping strategies to stay focussed and on track. A very good way to cope is through connection with others. And preferably others who are of a like mind and/or in a similar situation.

My own work involves a combination of creative composition, education, performance and administration. Which can be quite a juggling act. And, sometimes, overwhelming. The need to produce on demand whilst maintaining good business practices and nurturing new opportunities can, frankly, be too much. However, this is my choice and the rewards are abundant.

Prepared and Invested

When I lose sight of the positive side to all of this, my best strategy is to call on somebody I know who understands my position. And this can work for anyone, regardless of your talents and interests. But – in my experience – it needs to be a real, human interaction in order to have any impact.

What generally happens, in my case, is that a meeting – however informal – with another creative individual tends to spark ideas and processes that knock me out of my malaise. This works because I have now made a commitment to another person. If I have suggested ‘let’s meet to have a chat about x’, I then need to make sure I am prepared and invested in x to begin with.

We All Need an Ally

Quite often, x will lead to y. And now there are two of us involved, so I have to keep up my end of the bargain, whatever that may be. Sometimes, it could be as simple as sending a follow-up email, thanking the person for their time and outlining what I propose to do next.

Even where a meeting has no agenda and nothing tangible comes from it, you have both committed to the continuation of your relationship, be it professional or otherwise. And you have each reinforced the knowledge in one another that you have an ally. Which we all need.

Stay Connected

A cornerstone of our educational work with young people is engendering collaboration and cooperation. Learning, at a young age, to share ideas and problems, is a skill that will provide life-long rewards. In adulthood, it’s easy to forget to maintain our connections. We can be ‘too busy’ or ‘not feeling up to it’ or a host of other excuses. However, for own well-being, connection is vital.

Children – in the main – will collaborate instinctively. But when one feels vulnerable, at any age, it’s very easy to shut others out. Just when we most need them.  As previously discussed, vulnerability is a key element of creative pursuits. So, whilst engaging with these, it’s important to stay connected.

In Person

And, in case it wasn’t clear before, these connections need to be in person. Social media, I’m afraid, just won’t cut it. Whatever those algorithms may want you to believe!

Creative Connections

It’s Ok To Be Vulnerable

Knowing When To Stop

Our Creative Partners: Make a Move