This year something that’s been on my mind more and more is how to support the creatives in my life and those whose work I’m a fan of. While you’ll see below that such loyalty is not limited to monetary support, I’ve been more aware of my purchasing power as well.
I’m getting a little better at checking Etsy when looking for a particular item/gift, rather than heading straight to Amazon (though Amazon is still very much a habit), and this fall I’ve been buying all of my painting supplies from a local art shop in Flagstaff.
It’s important for me to support the values I believe in—not just when it’s convenient for me. This means taking a closer look at my smaller, everyday actions—including purchases—and evaluating how well they align with my values. If we encourage and help the people who are bringing more kindness, creativity, and truth into the world, their impact will expand exponentially.
As I reflect on my year and this particular topic, the people below continue to pop up. I’m excited to share their work with you—because obviously I think they’re really cool people doing great things—but I’m also including some of my interactions with them. The purpose of sharing these is not to pat myself on the back, but rather to provide concrete ideas/examples of what support can look like.
Creatives I’ve Supported in 2017
While staying in Venice, I saw an event on Couchsurfing for a free walking tour, hosted by Josh. I’ve gone on many walking tours throughout my years of travel, but this was hands-down the best. Picture the Bill Bryson of walking tours. Josh was incredibly well spoken and pointed out such interesting details and nuggets of history that he had my full attention for the entire three hours. What a joy to experience that tour!
Surprisingly enough, this was only the second time he’d given the tour. Ever. He was trying it out via Couchsurfing to see if it’s something he could charge for, down the line. He accepted tips at the end, so I gave much more than I tip at “regular” walking tours. Then I gave him encouraging spoken words, assuring him that he could totally make a living doing this—the quality is superb.
When I got back to my hostel, I felt propelled to push him along even more, so I sent a message via Couchsurfing with some positive testimony, which he later used to advertise future walking tour events.
Kim Dinan – “The Yellow Envelope”
I’ve been a long-time reader of Kim’s blog, So Many Places, and thus a long-time fan of Kim. Naturally, then, I pre-ordered her book “The Yellow Envelope” late last year before it was released this April.
A few days after returning to the states this spring, I attended her book signing event at Barnes and Noble in Madison. I recommend the book to others and share her Yellow Envelope project on my site.
Meg Kissack – Couragemakers/That Hummingbird Life
I hope you’ve heard me talk about The Couragemakers Podcast before, as it’s been a favorite of mine this year. To help support Meg’s fantastic podcast, I left a positive review on iTunes earlier in the year and often shared episodes via Twitter when I was active on the platform.
Since I align so well with her values and approaches, I also hired Meg as a mentor/coach for two of her “Epic Shit” session offerings: “Get Shit Rolling” (a brainstorming session for multi-passionate creatives) and “Get Shit Done” (an email accountability/encouragement experience). The (tangible) result? This very site! It was an even better experience than I could have imagined, and you can bet I provided feedback and testimony for this amazing Couragemaker.
Luke Thering – Musical Creations
Luke is my younger brother, a wonderful human being who plays piano (incredibly well) and composes (also incredibly well), among other actions. In past years I’ve supported him on Kickstarter and attended performances. What comes to mind right away for this past year was sharing two of his fun videos with others:
- “Fire Sale” – Any “Arrested Development” fans out there should check this one out!
- “My Best Friend” – In this video, Luke adds accompaniment to Key and Peele’s “best friend” comedy sketch
And while we’re on the topic, here’s a one-minute wintertime video that always brings a smile to my face:
Candace Rose Rardon – Moment Sketchers
Another woman I’ve mentioned a lot this year is Candace Rose Rardon and her Moment Sketchers community (to which I belong). I support her by commenting on blog posts, sharing the community with others (writing about it, talking about it, inviting others to join me for the monthly sketch weekends), and encouraging fellow community members via Instagram comments.
James Hansen – FOUL The Webseries
A friend from high school is creating a webseries called “FOUL,” which he is funding thanks to Kickstarter. I was happy to contribute to the campaign when it was live.
Genevieve Lacombe – Atelier Art Postal
Genevieve Lacombe, a fellow Moment Sketcher, opened her Etsy shop this fall: Atelier Art Postal. I had lots of fun ordering and sending out the adorable postcards seen above. I left positive feedback on her Etsy page and shared the postcards on Instagram too.
Alexandra Franzen – “You’re Going to Survive”
One of my favorite writers/humans/heroes, Alexandra Franzen, released a book this month: “You’re Going to Survive: True stories about adversity, rejection, defeat, terrible bosses, online trolls, 1-star Yelp reviews, and other soul-crushing experiences―and how to get through it”
I pre-ordered the book when she first announced it (the book just arrived a few days ago!) and I’ll be recommending it to anyone in need of her uplifting message.
Nicole Antoinette – Real Talk Radio
A podcast I’ve fallen in love with these past few months is Real Talk Radio with Nicole Antoinette. She’s real-life friends with Alexandra Franzen (above), which is how I first learned of the podcast.
After listening to only a few episodes, it was an easy decision to make a pledge on Nicole’s Patreon page to help keep the podcast running.
While traveling around Italy this spring, I tipped street musicians after enjoying their songs, and one afternoon in Bologna I “bought” a poem from an Italian street poet.
Online interactions with Matt Maldre reminded me how important it is to leave a comment on all blog posts I read—which I now try to do.
Celebrating Support Received
This year I’ve also been on the receiving end of such support. From a monetary view, I received $7 in tips from two people via Paypal donation (which I’d added to my Oh No She Madridn’t blog a few years ago—these are the first donations ever received) and I sold six copies of my Korean Food/Restaurant Guide on Gumroad. (Hooray!)
Just a few days ago this new blog received its first comment (thank you Eva!), and that’s definitely something to celebrate.
I have a folder on my desktop where I keep screenshots of tweets, emails, and other encouraging words from friends and fellow humans. I added several clips to this folder throughout the year and I’m grateful to everyone who contributed.
I appreciate the friends and family who came to the Trains on Main reception this summer, and all of the supportive words I’ve received—while travel sketching, speaking at the library, chatting with friends, via snail mail, etc.
How to Support Creatives in Your Life
As we move into the new year, I’ll keep an even closer eye out for ways to support the creatives I value. Remember, there are many ways to support creatives in your life—no matter how new/far they are on the journey. Here’s a starter list:
- Comment on a blog post / Instagram post
- Write a letter/email of encouragement
- Recommend an encouraging book/post/podcast/community to your creative friend
- Share one of their articles/creations/event info. on social media or by email
- Send a gratitude or fan letter (here’s how to write a six-minute fan letter—see #1)
- Support their Kickstarter
- Pledge to support them via Patreon
- Make a Paypal donation
- Purchase one of their creations—for yourself or to give as a gift
- Attend their shows/performances
- Leave a positive review / offer testimony
Who do you support? How do you support creatives in your life? (Any more ideas I can add to this list?)