"Be an encourager. The world has enough critics." - Unknown Source
There is an essential element to any creative endeavor which I think many people forget, even the creators themselves. On one hand, I think it's silly, because I'm the one investing my time and energy into this amazing project I'm so excited about, and somehow I forget this one essential thing. On the other hand, I think it's really sad; there are a hundred projects I've started, then quit because I was discouraged. I imagine I'm not the only one sitting in that camp, either.
So by now, you've probably figured out what this one super important thing is. Encouragement.
Encouragement usually means someone else saying something nice about the thing you've made, right? A compliment, or comment through a forum, or a grin that says "that's so cool!" without any words needed. There are other kinds of encouragement, though, and I think it's important that both creators and audience alike should take a moment to think about them.
This one is the most obvious, and the one we look for. The comment, the compliment, the smile. The really obvious "wow, you did a good job" that makes us feel all warm and glowy inside.
Pros: It's easy to say something nice about something you appreciate.
Cons: It's also easy to assume that a lack of feedback means no one appreciates the creator's work.
It's not easy to find a friend that's willing to put in the effort and time to help you complete a project. This kind of feedback is possibly the most impactful for the creator as far as the creation process is concerned, particularly for ongoing projects, like a blog or photography.
Pros: The rewards of being part of the team that creates usually include strengthened relationships, as well as access to the completed product. ;)
Cons: This is the kind of feedback that will cost the encourager the most in terms of effort, and it's important to encourage the encourager, letting them know they're appreciated.
There are lots of things a creator needs to know. A writer, game designer, painter, photographer, or actor needs to be familiar with their subject in order to properly capture and communicate it. If you know a lot about a subject your creator-friend is working with, you can offer up some of what you know, or the resources you have at your disposal (books, websites, friends).
Pros: Providing a friend with a link, book, or address is usually pretty simple.
Cons: If your knowledge is more of the sort that hides inside your head, you may need to set aside time to sit down and talk to your friend about the subject. (See #2.)
When a game has no players, or a play has no audience, or a song has no listeners, then the creator might begin to feel as if there was no point to going to all the work to create the thing at all. If you have a friend who loves create, you can engage with them about what they do, or partake of their creations. (Read the blog, look at the painting, play the game, etc.)
Pros: It's an easy conversation starter - when you already know that your friend loves to do XYZ, it can really get them excited about things when you get them talking about it.
Cons: If you're not interested in XYZ, listening to/reading/watching it might be boring for you.
There's no single "best" way to encourage a creator, but it's important to remember that we all need a little encouragement now and again. You can be the one that makes a difference for your friend.
If you have any comments, suggestions, or requests, please feel free to let me know! Feedback is LIFE.
Until next time, stay awesome, readers.