Building Your Creative Army

I'm super thankful to work from home in the relative peace and quiet that is my upstairs office.

That said, there are times when I daydream about working in a more lively environment, especially (or specifically) in an office of other creative people. I imagine the back and forth of ideas, the water cooler chatter, and gathering together for brainstorming and critiques (good for growth).

Sometimes when I get lonely or have a creative question I can't find the answer to or need to bounce something off another human being, I turn to my creative army.

My creative army is a mixture of "real-life" and "online" friends and places. Some I can call on the phone or via ichat and others I only know from clicking around the internet. Some don't even know me at all, but I consider them a part of my army. Some aren't even necessarily people - think songs, sites, books, or activities. They speak to me through words and images and inspiration.

So what does my army do? They lift me up. They challenge me. They help get me back on track when I stray too far from the job at hand. They encourage me to try new things. They celebrate my successes. They embark with me on creative adventures and even engage in a little creative mischief from time to time (which is really good for someone like me who sticks pretty close to the straight and narrow). They educate me. Some of them are there to tell me the stuff I need (and maybe don't want) to hear and others simply plant seeds and whisper possibilities.

You might call them your team, posse, gang, or crew. I used the term army on purpose - these people and places and things are defenders of my creative spirit.

One of the coolest things about this army is I get to choose who and what is a part of it. My creative army evolves with time and seasons. It's not always the same group. Sometimes I hire new recruits and retire others. Sometimes retired members re-enlist.

Here's just a few people & places I consider a part of my current creative army:
  • Justine Musk | She doesn't know me but her writing is awesome and relevant and kicks me in the pants when I need it.
  • Cathy Zielske | She's as close as I get to a co-worker without being in the same office (let alone the same state).
  • Zen Habits & Leo Babauta | I'm a longtime fan of Leo's site and his writing. It speaks to me on many levels and often challenges me to think differently about situations in my creative work and life. 
  • Studio Calico Design Team | I find a ton of inspiration in the designs of this group of people. They make me want to get off the computer and go make stuff.
  • Two Peas In A Bucket Garden Team | Just as above, lots and lots of inspiration. They also make me want to scrapbook. Two Peas is really where my memory keeping adventures began and it has long served as a go-to place when I need a visual creative lift.
  • Design Sponge | More specifically Grace's series called Biz Ladies which is a great group of posts and topics related to running/owning/creating your own business.
  • Liz Lamoreux | A kindred spirit and partner in creative adventures.
  • A group of women friends I first started getting together with a few summers ago that have become a valuable resource in my creative work and in my everyday life.
Have you ever considered your friends/go-to places/sources of inspiration as your creative team or army? The process of thinking through and writing up my list (partially shown above) was actually quite interesting and illuminating.

Who and what are a part of your creative army?

Join the conversation on my Facebook page or blog about your creative army and send me a link. I'd love to read your thoughts.

Registration is now open for my newest online 4-week workshop called 31 Things. Class includes daily writing and photography prompts over the course of 31 days in May & June with the goal of "seeing into the life of things." Consider yourself invited. Learn more and register here.

Ali Edwards' passion resides in that special place where the images and stories of life intersect. Visit her online at
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