You might already have what you’re seeking

Last year I published a blog post titled ‘In search of community’. Over a year has passed so i thought I’d share a little update. This year I realised that I’m already part of a couple of communities, I just hadn’t been making enough time and space to show up and connect with the other people.

Looking back on that post is quite interesting, it’s a reminder that sometimes our perspectives are skewed. It’s helped me better understand the idea that sometimes we already have exactly what we’re seeking we just aren’t open to it.

Cost and accountability

People pay a lot of money to ensure they remain accountable.

Perhaps you want to lose weight and you’re struggling to do it alone so you join weight loss group. You might be a writer who is struggling to make time to write so you join an online weekly writing group. Both of these types of groups can be created and attended for free.

However, when it comes to losing weight many people choose to pay to join a group like Weight Watchers. Or perhaps they pay to join a gym or a particular fitness class. The group provides a community of like minded people and the fact that you pay makes you more likely to commit because now you have something to lose.

If you’re paying a certain amount every month or every week and you ignore the meal plans, don’t exercise and continue with a diet full of processed, sugary, high fat and high salt foods then you’ve just wasted your money.

With writing perhaps you pay to attend a writing group where you sit and write for an hour or 2 each week. The purpose of the group is to work on your writing separately but for many it feels easier together. Of course you wouldn’t be reliant on the group to get all your writing done however if the group also involves sharing writing progress made throughtout the week it gives you an incentive to something done between meetings.

From the outside some people may not see the value in joining these kinds of groups, perhaps because they don’t need to but I think if it works then it’s worth it.

The pros and cons of an Instagram portfolio

Some thoughts I had whilst thinking about where to share my photos in the future.

I’m not a photographer but over the past couple of years my interest in prop styling/ product photography has grown and I really enjoy taking photos. I’ve thought about creating a portfolio website to share my work but then I found myself wondering if it was even necessary. The intention would be to also share on Instagram however, I started to think that perhaps just having Instagram would be enough.

Pros

Used by over 1 billion

Your work has the potential to reach so many people because Instagram is such a popular app. On the other hand your website may be much harder to find.

Create a community of fellow creatives

You’re likely to find through the use of hashtags a community of fellow creatives. Not just people that take photos but people in your city, peopke you can learn from, people you can teach and people you can grow with.

Directly interact with your audience

The people viewing, liking and commenting on your work may just be random people that think your photos are interesting. However, they could also be potential clients. But you also have the chance to interact with your audience and take them on a journey with you.

Cons

Image quality

Sometimes the images you post to your Instagram feed are of a reduced quality when compared to if they were uploaded to a site

Limited flexibility on how you can present

Compared to a website Instagram offers little flexibility. There are some things you can do to present images differently such as placing them on a white square that you post to your feed. But overall everything on Instagram is fairly uniform.

Getting distracted

Instagram comes with many distractions. As much as it allows you to interact with fellow creatives and an audience who may become potential clients, you can also end up wasting a lot of time. From getting distracted by the number of likes and followers to replying to comments and spending hours scrolling. In contrast when updating an online portfolio you won’t have notifications and messages to distract you.


I also think having a website can make a person appear more trustworthy, legitimate and professional. Anyone can have an Instagram account but taking the time to create a website isn’t something everyone would do. As someone who enjoys having their own personal space to share work online, the idea of only having an Instagram portfolio isn’t particularly appealing.

I think a website is the perfect base or foundation for your work, to share a bit about yourself, provide contact info and also what work people can pay you for. On the flipside Instagram is great for a more causal approach such as chatting with followers, sharing behind the scenes and answering questions.

In search of community

I think a key part of being creative is doing it as part of a community.

Community is really important. You don’t need to be working on a joint project you can simply work on your individual projects together. Being part of a community can help keep you motivated and accountable, give you people to bounce ideas off and act as a sounding board. Plus, you have people to share your progress and growth with. All those things you can gain are also the things you’re able to give.

There are the kind of communities that you pay for with a monthly membership fee. There is usually some sort of leader or overseer even if they don’t interact with the members directly.

But there is also community formed when a few people (sometimes total strangers) decide to come together. In this case, there is no leader or hierarchy. This is what I’m currently in search of.

I’ve been sharing my work online for close to a decade and it has always been a solitary pursuit. However, lately the idea of community has really appealed to me, both online and offline.

What it’s like to be an ideas person

Years ago I had an idea to create a lifestyle site based in my city. It would have included things to do and see, restaurant reviews and recommendations, arts and culture, places to shop etc…

That idea never came to life. I wanted it to be a group thing, a site run by team of people. We’d have been writers, editors, photographers and creatives. But I never spoke about the idea, not even once. Plus, at the time I didn’t have any people in my life I could have asked to contribution or run the site with me.

A few years later I had another idea for a collective of sorts. A group of creatives and makers. We’d have been bloggers, graphic designers, fashion designers, photographers, artists, illustrators, web designers…

It would be have been a group of people sharing spaces to work on their projects individually but also together. They’d pay a monthly fee and reinvest the money back into themselves and their work.

Just like the first idea, I never spoke about it and nothing ever came of it.

I think I created these ideas because I craved a community/tribe of people I could relate to.

A few months ago I had another idea (if you can’t already tell I’m quite the ideas person). It was for a society that would hold monthly events and I’d write a monthly newsletter.

When I think about how different my life could have been if I’d pursued these ideas it’s slightly terrifying. It’s not always easy to imagine yourself leading, organising and having the confidence to pick yourself.

But, these ideas are the kinds of things I would’ve wished I’d done if I saw other people doing them, yet I’ve never had the ability to do them myself.

I plan to work on evolving into the kind of person that doesn’t wait to be picked and isn’t afraid to lead over the coming months. And right now that looks like doing things, making things happen and bringing my ideas to life.