Oh, I love work events. Seeing friends. Meeting people. The whole being part of a community thing.
Yes, I know that is unlike me, but I mention the "community thing" because it was my big takeaway from Crafting a Public Identity: A Workshop for Creative Artists, Writers and Performers on Navigating the Arts Business Maze at the Thomas Dodd Research Center. The Thomas Dodd Research Center is one of my favorite places for work events. Mainly because it's so close to me, but it's also a beautiful place. It's the home of the Northeast Children's Literature Collection, by the way.
This particular work event, moderated by Susan Raab, was developed around the idea that all people working in the arts promote and market themselves and can learn from one another. There was a lot of talk about social media, of course, but, as I said, the sticky idea for me was community, something "social" media is supposed to build on-line so you can be part of a community that isn't in your local geographic area. Artist Sharon Butler was particularly good at explaining how social media helped her meet her goal of being part of a creative community and having a voice within it. Coincidentally, it aided her career as an artist, too.
My experience with being part of a community has been great, though I find that communities are always changing. Certainly the children's lit blogger community isn't as cozy as it used to be simply because it's grown so large. Think of any community you've ever been part of--in school, at work, in a volunteer group. People are always coming in and out of communities, which changes the dynamic. Your needs evolve. The community that was terrific once doesn't seem the same any longer. Another community calls to you.
This is not to say that I'm down on the whole community thing. Not at all. After half a decade of having to cut back on all kinds of community, I'm a bit pumped over the idea of getting more involved again. I do, however, recognize that any community I'm part of is not a static thing that will serve me and that I can serve in the same way forever. I will need to always be adapting.
I had another interesting (to me) thought about Crafting A Public Identity, which I hope to discuss tomorrow.