I had lunch today with an author who has published two books and numerous articles. I’ve been watching him do his work over the past couple of years as he has followed around an organization in which I am intimately involved. I have seen him fly in and out of town; sit through meetings; attend events; take notes; and mostly listen.
Today we talked again about an idea he took from someone else that I’m hoping to take from him in the very near future. The idea is a “discussion group.” My writer friend lives in the Washington, D.C. area, and once a month invites together a group of people for lunch (usually about 25 or more). Along with the “regulars” my friend invites a special guest or two.
The special guests come from the realm of politics, the arts, journalism, and many other disciplines. The guests spend the first ten or fifteen minutes presenting a topic and then the rest of the time is spent asking questions, discussing the presentation and issues, and simply listening. They meet every month of the year except for August.
People move in and out of the group, but there are about 15 people who are there just about every month. They like to learn. They like to debate. They like to question.
This monthly meeting is a great filling station for creatives of all kinds. That’s why I want to start a group like this. Creativity can go fleeting away very quickly if there isn’t anything to fill the creative tank.
Books and articles that I have read on the topic of creativity certainly support this. For instance, Julia Cameron says in The Artist’s Way that any type of creative person ought to take him or herself on a “creative date” each and every week. She says to go all by yourself to a movie, museum, or even a five and dime store to simply observe, think, and be filled.
I’ve tried it, and it works very well. But I think I like this idea even better. Get together with others. Pick their brains. Discuss. Debate. Take some notes. Fill the tank. Simply listen.
I’d love for you to join me in a group like this. What kinds of ideas do you have for filling one’s creative tank?