As we think about creativity and community, I think that one of the best parts about working on our creative works together is the fact that we can rejoice with each other. When one of us is successful, we all can join them in that exciting time. It provides motivation, and it provides encouragement.
We all have difficult times, and it can be easy to feel like our creative energies have hit rock bottom. Sometimes, we just don’t feel like writing for example. I have days where I really have no idea what I want to write, and it is a struggle to say the least. Those times are frustrating for anyone who actually is trying to get some words down on the paper.
When I run into those problems, it is very encouraging to see someone else being successful. When someone else completes a long-term project that I know has been a struggle, I can not only rejoice with them, but I can also gain strength from that example. I am reminded that even though there may be setbacks at times, my project will come through as well. Ultimately, my efforts will come to fruition if I keep working and persevere through the tough times.
I know that there are certainly times where we all resent success from other people. We don’t like to admit it, but I think we all have been there at times. When our efforts are not working out very well, we sometimes get frustrated that other people seem to have it so easy. Everything seems to be working out for them, but it doesn’t always work out for us. I don’t think we would be honest if we didn’t all admit that we have felt that before.
However, I feel like the key to true community is that we actually can rejoice with other people because a community is not a rivalry. It is not a question of trying to find out who is better than someone else. Naturally, some people are more talented than others. That is obvious and somewhat politically incorrect but 100% true. There are many people who are better writers than I am, but I contribute what I am able to do. At the same time, I am able to be excited that there are so many other brilliant people who do so many great things.
One of my professors and I were talking about Karl Marx a few weeks ago, and we were both talking about how he really is an intellectual giant that we have to contend with. My professor said something very close to the effect of, “Don’t forget, you have giants on your side as well.”
Maybe I am not the most eloquent writer, and I am not probably the one that you should choose to go head-to-head with Karl Marx, but I can get excited because there are plenty of brilliant people who have offered critiques of his economic theories. I can celebrate what they do because that is the community is about. It is not a rivalry.