A vital part of life is community. At least that’s my experience.
We’ve all had shitty moments in life, right? I know I have had quite a few and I’m sure more will come. I’ve been extremely fortunate to have people who love me walk with me in the rough times. I don’t need motivational clichés and these people know that. They listen, go for a run, hang out, smoke cigars, or simply allow me to let out a good sigh when needed.
I’m allowed to be.
And the moment passes.
Then come the moments where life is awesome. I know that I enjoy those times so much more when I can share them with people I love. Maybe it’s sharing hope. Maybe it’s allowing the goodness of life to reach further than just my situation. I don’t know, but that sounds pretty good to me.
So how does this apply to freelancing?
When I worked in an office I interacted with people all day. This built community within the workplace and sometimes carried beyond. As a freelancer that’s not as easy to create. Last week I went to the first ever (that I’m aware of) Nashville Cinema 4D users meet up. I realized while I was sitting with these guys how important this gathering is. Some of these guys are experiencing the same struggles I am while trying to find clients. Some are working for organizations and have different experiences, but we all work in the same world. I was blown away by the talent that surrounded me. Some of these guys have been working with C4D for many many more years that I have. There were no egos to speak of. Everyone seemed eager to hang out, to share, and to learn. I can’t tell you how excited I am to meet with these people more.
Not only is it important to simply share an experience with others, but community provides something that I believe is invaluable.
It’s so easy to get wrapped up in my own project and my own life. When I hang out with people who can give me an outside perspective on my situation I allow myself to step back and use a different lens. I learn, I grow, and I move forward.
The worldwide C4D community is mind blowing. I’m consistently impressed with the way people share with and help others. People who’ve been using the software for ages have no problem helping those who just jumped in. I promise you that’s huge. It’s overwhelming at best to open up C4D for the first time on your own. I have yet to see anyone reluctant to help out a new user for fear of losing their “edge”. It’s obvious that most people believe that knowledge can only make everyone better and so it’s shared freely.
I speak of the C4D community because that’s where I live mostly, but I’ve also seen this play out in the larger motion graphics community. Every Tuesday night a group of motion graphics artists gather virtually on Twitter to talk about a given topic. It’s called “#mochat” and it’s amazing. Some people simply shoot the shit together while others discuss the latest techniques or technologies. I’ve learned so much by simply refreshing my twitter feed. At some point I hope to contribute more to the conversation but for now I listen more than anything.
I love this weird world I’m a part of. It makes the work so much more fun.
Without community I would not be where I am. It’s important. Seek it out, make it happen. Community is worth the risk, the problems, and the work.