A group of British authors called “The Inklings” met together in the 1930’ and 40’s. They connected over the years to challenge and support each other. This group included famous authors C. S. Lewis, who wrote “The Chronicles of Narnia” (and other famous literary works), and J. R. R. Tolkien who wrote “The Hobbit”, and the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

So, if you want to be a successful artist, you must take up pipe smoking and start using your initials instead of your name. Seriously though, it’s worth taking the time to study this group and think thru the benefits of being part of such a group in your creative field.

I meet with 2 other creatives a few times each month for encouragement and accountability. We help each other to pursue our creative calling, serve our families, and live out our faith. It’s also a great way to talk out our creative ideas with people we trust. It’s never convenient to get together (the tyranny of the urgent has a way of crowding out what’s important if we let it), but it’s always worth it.  Without fail, we walk away each time with renewed passion and clarity on what we are called to do.

Typically this is referred to as an “accountability group” but it’s much more than that. We’re helping each other fight battles to pursue our creative calling. This acronym will help you remember 5 ways having a group like this will release your inner creative B.E.A.S.T!

1. Balance
Creatives need social connection. Hang time. This is a place to be refreshed. It needs to be an unregimented but purposeful space in your time budget. It may seem counter productive, but you’ll find your productivity, passion, drive, and creative clarity will increase.

2. Encouragement
This word has comforting and soft connotations, but the core meaning of encouragement really means to “spur on to courage”. The prefix “en” means “to cause”. We need to cause courage in each other. Sometimes that comes via a pat on the back. Sometimes it’s a kick in the pants. There are 1000 road blocks to fulfilling your creative calling. You need courage to keep up the fight, and you need others who will push you toward courage and perseverance.

3. Accountability
Good friends follow up with you about past struggles and stated goals. They remind you when you are veering off course, not honoring your commitments, or not fulfilling or pursuing your life’s mission.

4. Sharpening
Artists are not islands and we need each other to accomplish our goals and pursue our calling. By seeing excellence in a particular area of another artist’s life, you will rise to the occasion as you spend time with them. If you want to be a better artist, leader, athlete (or whatever), surround yourself with excellent people who raise the bar. You will naturally grow toward the caliber of those around you.

5. Trusted Input
Creatives collaborate by nature. One perspective heightens another. Thoughts and ideas are untangled by talking them out. This is vital for creatives. Having a few other artists speak into your ideas is priceless. This will help you gain confidence in a direction, or see areas that need to be course-corrected.

Whatever stage you are currently in regarding your creative journey, finding a B.E.A.S.T. group is guaranteed to help you go further faster.

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