In December 2019 I decided the year ahead would be My Year to grow, particularly within my career. As an SEO content and copywriter, I had been building my client base and considering my business model and saw some success even amid giving birth to my fourth and final baby and coping with post-partum-everything for the first time as an, ahem, older mom. I decided that the timing was now-or-never, I had to lean in and take the proverbial bull by the horns if I was going to finally capture the career I wanted.
I joined AIGA on a whim one day in December. I figured final business expenses that could serve as valuable tax deductions should probably be spent before 2020 rolled in, and it seemed like a great thing to involve myself with. I had joined the very-active AIGA Facebook group for members in my area, and I knew quite a few board members and active members from my time in illustration courses at PPCC and connecting with fellow freelancers and creatives through the downtown creative community of Colorado Springs.
Once I made my membership official, it felt like my participation was mandatory as a self-imposed call to accountability, and I’m so glad that my monetary commitment inspired me to solidify my membership with a proactive attitude. I attended the first monthly Coffee Talk that AIGA offers in January, and loved the atmosphere. From there, I decided to learn more about the organization and the community in order to immerse myself and serve the design community in whatever way I could be useful.
Connect with Your Community
Because of the good things I saw happen immediately once I made the choice to connect and take action, I felt the need to urge the same. I thought about all the ways we are largely living in isolation and putting so much upon ourselves to do it all on our own. It seemed worth mentioning to the other self-employed writers, designers, or otherwise independent creatives to reach out and connect with your local community to professionally network and nurture relationships with your peers and colleagues.
It is so easy to become wrapped up in our virtual worlds of emails and social media, networking platforms and even helpful resources like YouTube videos that, while wonderfully informative, can ultimately be very one-sided in its very nature. Don’t undervalue your worth or ability to make a meaningful contribution to your community.
And if you’re an introvert, like me, this jump into physical presence may seem uncomfortable. I would like to encourage you to go boldly anyway, and if you care to share your experience, I would love to hear how your efforts to connect turn out.
Something for Everyone
Opportunities to connect are out there, no matter your profession.
- Pikes Peak Writers
- East Creative Writing Group
- Colorado Springs Fiction Writers Group
And if you are not in the Colorado Springs area, check out the Writer’s Relief website for writing groups and programs available to you, sorted by location.
- Colorado Watercolor Society
- Plein Air Artists Colorado
- Colorado Alliance of Illustrators
and, of course, AIGA as a community resource for designers, illustrators, and professional creatives of all kinds.
I’m hoping to dig deeper and find the time and space to visit some of the groups I shared, as well as deepening my involvement in my surrounding creative community and AIGA. What steps are you taking to network and grow?
Until next time,