Finding “One of My People”

There are times in life when we struggle to find anything positive.  We hope to get through those times as quickly as possible.  Fortunately, there are also times where we experience the opposite, and we never want those to end.  It’s no surprise that we latch on to our good experiences.  Have you ever met someone that you “clicked” with immediately?  I like to say I’ve just met “One of my people” when that happens.  It doesn’t happen nearly as often as we’d like, but when it does, the feeling is one of joy and validation.

It’s great to know that we aren’t alone in our likes and tastes. It’s fun to meet someone you can talk to about your various interests.  It makes us feel like we belong in the world, that we’re not alone.  The last time this happened to me was over cars.  I met the boyfriend of a friend. As it turned out I liked the “boyfriend” more than I like the friend.  She’s a typical Austin hippie-type. Not bad in and of itself, but not really unique or interesting.  A person built from a mold.  A mold that has been reused thousands of times, especially in Austin.  But her boyfriend was a car guy! He drove the same car as I do, and had even done some of the same modifications that I’ve done to my cars.  He’d even done one that I’ve been wanting to do, so I had 100 questions for him.

Honestly, after getting to know him, it was hard to understand what he saw in his girlfriend, my original friend.  But hey, opposites attract, right?  While I generally think people are mostly the same, some of us find it difficult to bond with others.  I don’t have a lot in common with most people.  I don’t watch TV anymore, I don’t follow any sports teams anymore.  I work, I read and I write.  That’s about it.

Writing has alienated me

I have a lot of business acquaintances.  I have only one or two friends.  My life has changed a lot this year, with me focusing on my writing. Even those who I was close to, I find myself out of sync with as I become more and more creative.  Our interests are just different.  I spend my free time differently than they do.  I don’t go out, I don’t come over for a beer anymore.

I have one friend a few hours away who’s written a few books.  He’s a car guy, too, and he wrote his books in that vein. They’re fun to read, and I’ve been a beta reader for his last three books. He’s inspired me to keep pushing forward.  We met a few weeks ago when he was in Austin, and I told him we need more creative friends.  He agreed, so now we’re on the lookout.  We’re going to try to connect more often so we can talk about writer stuff, and car stuff, and work stuff, since he also works in the same industry as I do. That’s how we met some 15 years ago.  He is definitely, “One of my people.”  I just spoke with him this week and he’s been traveling for 12 weeks straight now, so needless to say, we have not connected yet.

It’s tough to find people who share your likes and dislikes as well as your hobbies and quirks. This is why Jeff Goins says, “find a scene.”  The whole point to “finding a scene” is it gives you like-minded people to interact with.  Goins recommends moving if you need to.  But the last thing in the world I want to do right now is move.  I love where I live.  I’m sure I could find a nice place outside of Nashville, as I see a lot of writers are congregating around the Nashville area. The music is some of the best I’ve ever heard live, but I just can’t see moving again – ever.  I hate it.  And I may have mentioned this before, I moved a lot as a child, so now that I’m in charge of my own domain, I don’t want to move again.  I’ve been in this house longer than anywhere in my life. For a reason.

So how do we go about finding our scene, or our people, our new “BFFs?”

Where are all the writers?

Honestly, I don’t know.  As a creative, if I go where other creatives hang out, it’s mostly the “to be seen” crowd rather than the “I want to be an artist” crowd.  You know the type. They “write” in public and pretend and never get serious about their writing.  They want to be thought of in the same vein as genius creators from past generations sipping coffee in French cafés.

Those are not my people.  I think writers have a tough time connecting with other writers because we think a lot.  Our minds are running fast, and it takes another fast mind to sit and speak to us.  But, I’m a good “group thinker” and I find, at least in my day job, that I am very effective in a large group where ideas are flying.  I’m able to see how pieces fit together differently than other people do.  I can take ideas from others and create a new, better idea.

So I’m eager to throw myself in with a group of writers and see what comes out of it.  But again, I don’t know where to meet them, find them, or even engage them, because if I find myself in an active group like this, my shyness and introversion will most likely get the best of me, and I’ll end up leaving frustrated, more so then when I arrived.

Ah, comfort zones.  Maybe they’ll serve alcohol. Alcohol seems to remove all my introversion.  I have no problem meeting people when I’ve had a few drinks.  But stone sober, well, I just keep to myself most times.

Wow, lots of digressions today.  The goal is to find people who, like me, have realized that they have this creative side they can’t and shouldn’t ignore, but are looking for others to interact and connect with.  It’s a support system, really. I’m looking for validation by finding others who are like-minded.  Again, the challenge is that we writers and creatives don’t tend to be the outward social types.  I’m sure you’ve seen the Internet meme that has a picture of an empty hall and says, “It’s with great excitement that we announce the cancellation of the Introverts National Convention.”

So I intend to start going where other creatives go. Maybe a meet-up or two, maybe a book reading by someone I enjoy.  Like minds, birds of a feather, who knows.  It won’t come easy, but nothing around this slow, methodical career change has or will. I know that going in. But it sure would be nice to sit down and talk to someone who understands what I go through each day, what I struggle with to come up with ideas, what I fight to keep the two halves separated most of the day.  Yeah, that would be nice.

You can join my growing email list by subscribing here or drop me a note in the comments.  I’d love to hear from you.

Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

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