When blogging first started, none of us were sure how to treat each other. Should we be jealous of other bloggers success? Should we link to each other? Does one person’s achievements take away from another’s? Is there a limited amount of blogs people will read? Does one blog steal eye balls and content from another? Etc.
We can be jealous of our peers in all fields, especially in creative ones. As faux Hemingway said in Midnight in Paris – “If I like your work, I’ll be jealous and hate you, if I hate it, I’ll hate you.” or something like that?
But what I came to realize is this, and it’s become one of the tenants of my life. It’s like my fucking manifesto.
PEOPLE RISE IN GROUPS.
Everywhere I look, I see collections of people, little groups who together make themselves into something greater than the sum of their parts. Actually, that’s not true, individually, they are all super strong- and have nothing actually collectively invested – but yet they have these little ties to each other. Slim little bands of spider web silk that holds them to each other. They wind their ways into each others careers and by virtue of their togetherness, go farther than they could have alone.
Groups of creatives can create entire aesthetics, entire genres. Even though no one is actually striving toward a group goal, that collective understanding helps each individual shine, and helps the stand outs rise to the tops of their fields. I mean, we could look back at The Beat Generation, we could look at Gertrude Stein’s salon. We could look at The Factory and Max’s Kansas City, we could look at the rising trifecta of power that is Leandra Medine (Manrepeller) Rosie Assoulin (Designer) and Claire Distenfeld (Owner of FiveStory). We could look at rivalry friendships like Picasso and Matisse, Hemingway and Fitzgerald, or we could take it as low brow as these teenage photographers on instagram that all have tens of thousands of followers. This isn’t an accident!
People need people. Creativity begets creativity. Success begets success. And surrounding yourself with like minded people – which is now EASIER than ever – opens your mind to new opportunities and helps you push through the years when everything you make is shit.
With blogging, early on it became clear that there were blog cliques, and that these groups helped each other A LOT. I think it was dismissed as trivial and cliquey in the beginning , but in reality, the blogs that embraced other bloggers as friends and comrades (and of course, grew as creatives), rose. The ones that saw others as competition, and were small-minded about it stagnated.
I think about this all the time. My friendships, my collaborations, how this whole thing came about, and how I’m connecting myself now with people who I believe in, SO MUCH. Our generation is coming into its own, and things are happening now for everyone that I sort of “came of age” with. I have multiple friends with books, friends with TV shows, friends with amazing design careers getting published all over the place. It’s an awesome feeling to be a witness to friend’s success! In the immortal words of DRAKE “Started from the bottom, now we’re here.” LOLZ. But really… When we celebrate each others achievements, it’s NOT FAKE. (Like how Christine and I happened to write about each others work in the same week. And many thanks to Erin for posting my work as well!) It’s a real expression of our respect for each other. And I think that’s what it’s about. Believe in the people we surround ourselves with, and work hard. And if we all work hard and keep working hard, maybe we’ll achieve some level of success in this world.
And how I define success – doing things I’m proud of, with recognition from the people I believe in.