Is a Creative Hive Right for You?

In the March 2012 issue of HOW magazine, Jonathan Fields, author of “Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance,” discusses how you can use fear to your creative advantage rather than let it limit you. He also recommends joining “creative hives”—groups of professionals who band together—as a useful method for obtaining valuable feedback and alleviating anxiety.

But not all creative hives are created equal, Fields says. Ultimately, you want to find a group of people who are supportive and foster a productive, positive environment. Hives come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from online communities to shared workspaces or groups that meet occasionally for dinner. Fields suggests that solo artists ask themselves the following seven questions before joining a creative hive:

  1. Is it cut-throat and competitive or laid back and collaborative?
  2. Is it social or segregated?
  3. Is it more about relationship-building or getting work done?
  4. Are the creators that populate it productive?
  5. Is it cooperative or pay-to-play, with no sense of service to the community?
  6. Will it leave you feeling pushed yet supported or exposed and defeated?
  7. Is it more about judgment leveling or feeing judged and leveled?

“There’s a certain comfort level when there are other people around you striving for a similar goal,” Fields says. “They’re going through a similar emotional process, so you can at times commiserate with and find support from them. It’s also a feedback tool. It’s one of the places where you can make a big shift in the judgment dynamic. You don’t want to eliminate judgment but rather become more receptive to it, and it helps to have feedback delivered in a very transparent and constructive way.”

Download the March 2012 issue of HOW magazine to read our full interview with Jonathan Fields.

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