I’ve been in two minds trying to decide what fun I could share with you this week – you might have noticed I missed last week’s fun update, and that was because I was away in Menorca (a small Balearic island) and had a pretty impossible wifi connection.
So my debate was whether or not I should tell you about my trip to Menorca, or tell you about what I did over the weekend (host a creative meetup).
The creative meetup won out, because Menorca was… well… you don’t need to hear about me reading by the pool or my dislike of hot weather – which, if you read my Museletter you are probably very sick of after the summer we had.
So: the meetup!
Now, I feel like I’ve mentioned meetups in the past – specifically the kind you can find and create on Meetup.com, which is the platform I use. Not affiliated with them, and honestly I’m not a fan of them as a company because their customer service SUCKS, but for someone who is interested in meeting new people and doing new things – it’s a pretty great option.
OK so I might have also told you that when I first moved to Brighton from London, I was at a bit of a loss. I realised my introversion had its limits, and my tendency to hermit myself had increased to the point of vitamin D definiciency. I’m kidding – redheads make extra vitamin D so that wasn’t a problem.
But I was definitely craving the company of people – even if it was for a few hours a week.
I also wanted to do something creative that didn’t involve the laptop… which, if you’re anything like me, isn’t so easy to motivate yourself to do. I needed accountability.
So yes, I created a meetup group. This was called Creative Cafe, and consisted of a Saturday morning, 11-1pm, in a cafe (or a pub actually) and anyone who came was welcomed, but also left alone if they wanted to work on whatever creative project they wanted.
I actually handed over ownership of the group some months back – I moved further away, to Hove, and ultimately needed a break.
But since my energy has picked up again, I’ve been craving my weekend morning creativity and social boost, and so… I started another group.
So my new group is called Caffeinated Creatives and just like with Creative Cafe, I’ve made sure to do things on my terms, and remember that people who want the same will be drawn to it, and people who don’t… won’t. That’s my first tip for meetups: suit yourself, at least at the beginning. There’s no point in doing something you’re uncomfortable with, because YOU won’t want to go!
I also chose a time I’m usually free, and at my creative peak: 10:30 on a Sunday morning. I limited this one to just 1.5 hours, with time afterwards put aside in case anyone wants to book in a quick Q+A session with me and of course people can stay at the cafe for as long as they like.
I’m not trying to pitch this to you because I know most of you aren’t anywhere near Brighton, but if you are, I’ll stick the link in the shownotes in case you do want to pop down on Sunday.
So the first one went very well: I met some lovely people, writers, artists, even a life coach – and all were super friendly. I chatted a bit, but I also got some mandala drawing done – yes, still my go-to creative outlet, especially if I want to be able to chat and work at the same time. That said, I’m going to accommodate my fellow writers as well, and make sure we’ve always got a quiet table for quiet work – and any hardcore introverts who want a time out. Which may sometimes be me.
All of this is to try and make the point that I often come back to: balance. We introverts do have a certain quota for alone time to fill, and a certain quota for people time. I truly believe there are only extreme rare cases when someone is a true hermit or does better off in a cave in the mountains… and I know I’m not one of them.
And that isn’t easy: because with the rest of us, we need to work out this balance, and honour it. Sometimes that goes a bit wrong and we overdo our solo time or our social time, and need to address that. That’s why a meetup like this is so great for me anyway, because I can use it to balance those needs – and get my creative needs met too.
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