Emily and Leah here, co-creators of the Creative Soul Weekend. We’re here with the first of four personal essays by Leah on topics near and dear to our Creative Soul hearts. Over the next few weeks we’ll share three more essays, to whet your appetites for the upcoming retreat in September. Then in August we’ll be sharing the details of what we have planned, and opening registration. Enjoy the essay, and stay tuned!
Why We Get Together With Other Women
We all create alone - in studio, in a coffee shop, in our home office, at the kitchen table, wherever. Even if there are people around us at the time, in the act of creation we’re alone - just us and the work. And I don’t know about you, but in both my creative hobbies and my creative work, I tend to go all gung-ho until I hit a wall and burn out. Whether it's my hobby (gardening), or my job (designing and writing), I tend to get frustrated, but not only that, I think I’m the only one who’s ever felt this way.
And the thing that helps me, every single time that happens? Getting together with another woman or with a group of women who share my medium or at least my creative life, and talking about it.
I remember a few weeks ago, I was sitting on my friend Nicole’s back porch in New Waterford, sipping a beer. Nicole is an urban farmer; she’s turned her whole back yard into garden beds and chicken coops. As we sat, talking about this plant or that, sharing what was growing well in our respective plots of earth and what had died off, I could feel my frustrations with my own garden melting away. Through our stories and jokes, I was giving myself permission to be human. To have failures, and then to learn from them. To have a sense of the world outside my window, of my yard and its microcosm, and to take delight in it, however imperfect it is.
And when it comes to my creative job, Emily is one of my “mastermind ladies” or “biz besties”: someone I share details of my business with, to get and give advice. Last month I came over to Port Hood and stayed with her for a night, to do some planning for the Creative Soul Weekend. We also ended up gabbing for hours about our businesses - what’s working, what’s in need of a change. Talking it out together helped both us see ways to change that we wouldn’t have seen on our own. We weren’t failures for needing to change things -- on the contrary, we realized we were normal! I felt so refreshed afterwards, like I could take on any challenge.
I remember sitting around the table at last year’s Creative Soul Weekend gathering, with the other seven women, some who I had just met, and some who I had known for years. I felt this sense of deep comfort, of “they get me!” Not everyone there worked as a creative for a living, but we all felt “creative” in some sense, and we had all felt that tug-of-war between our creative lives, and the rest of the world, the children or jobs or partners who need us. Despite that needy world, we had all carved out two whole days to step away and come to the seaside to connect with other women, and ultimately to connect with ourselves.
And at the end of a weekend like that, or an afternoon in a friend’s garden, or a night away or even a Skype chat visiting with a Biz Bestie, that connection makes us ready to go back to the studio, the coffee shop, the home office, the kitchen table, to wherever we work, and to focus on making the magic we make, in our creative lives.
We may work alone but we don’t do it by ourselves.