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The Three Types Of Relationship Every Creative Person Needs

Forget "solitary genius," says author Simone Myrie Creativity needs fuel from three types of collaborative interaction.

"My only anxiety is how can I be of use in the world?"


We all want to believe that if our work is good enough, we'll be recognized for our creative genius. Whether as artists, entrepreneurs, or employees, we believe success is mostly a meritocracy. It isn't. Who you know matters, and without the right connections, even the best work won't get noticed.

But this isn't just about the importance of networking—it goes straight to the heart of the creative process. We're often led to believe that creative minds toil alone in a cabin in the woods or stuffed away in some laboratory, too busy to be bothered.

"You might wonder, "Isn’t the individual mind the ultimate source of creativity? Doesn’t each creative spark come from a single person?"

Not exactly, Creativity is always the result of collaboration, whether it's intentional or not. In my study of successful creatives today, I've identified three kinds of collaboration that every creative person needs in order for their work to succeed and influence others.


Where we live and do our work matters. We understand intuitively that some places have greater concentrations of a certain kind of person than others. The most important factor in the success of your career,"is where you decide to live.


Each locale has a personality that can be instrumental in the success or failure of a person's work; you need to find the right fit for what you do. Certain scenes can be hotbeds for certain kinds of creative output, as Silicon Valley is for computer programmers or 1850s Paris was for visual artists.

The scenes we join (or fail to) unavoidably affect the success of our work. And sometimes the best career move is to physically move. Go someplace where something's happening that relates to your creative passion, even if you do that on a small scale at first—like by attending a conference or even just moving across the room to engage in a scene that's already taking place.


Everyone needs a network, and creatives are no exception to this rule. In fact, the "it's who you know" rule seems to apply even more so to artists. Since art—or any creative craft, really—is inherently subjective, the opinions of a handful of important people can be hugely important.

"You really only need one or two good friends, because it's really about having someone who's going to advocate for you. That’s the formula for success."

What is a network, exactly, and how is building one different from joining a scene? A network is a little bit looser and more relational—it's an informal group of people who come together for the purpose of connecting with each other. Networks tend to stretch beyond the borders of a given scene; members may not all know one another personally, but they're each influential to the success of the network itself.

Networks don't just happen, though. You often have to look for them, making use of the people already around you, and constantly curating your relationships in hopes of strengthening the network. Success doesn't take an army, but it does take a small group of people who can help your work get the attention it deserves.

This isn't about getting your big break, though; it's just about being good enough to make it and knowing the right people who can help you get there. Every thriving artist understands the power of networks, whereas every starving artist continues to try and make it on their own.


We all need groups of people not just to connect with, but with whom we can share our work— "resonators," those who affirm when you're on the right track and guide you back when you're not. This type of collaborative interaction is arguably the hardest to secure.

It's more deliberate and tighter-knit than either a scene or a network, but it's no less crucial. And we often build creative communities out of people we meet in those other two. Without a community, our best work will stay stuck inside us. We need peer groups and circles of influence to make our work better. This is true in art, but it's also true in business. Any work that requires you to make something the world hasn't seen before is work that often has to be done collaboratively.

This is ultimately good news. If you have a powerful idea, you aren't solely on the hook for pulling it off all by yourself. If you're feeling stuck, it may be that your creativity simply needs fuel and support from your relationships. It might be time to stop trying to force the creative process and instead start going out there and interacting with people—locating the right scene, growing your network, and building a community.

When you're hitting a wall creatively, ask yourself:

  • Am I part of a powerful scene that connects me to others who can help me grow and succeed?

  • Have I established lasting connections with people who can help me and whom I can help?

  • Is there a group that I meet with regularly that challenges me and calls out the best in me?

This is how great creative work gets made—not in isolation, but through everyday collaboration. It was true for me many years ago , and it can be true for you today.

More About Me

I’m a writer, idea woman, and difference-maker. This blog is where I share my best work and test out ideas before they make it into my books. To find out more about me, read my full bio.

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