Collaborating: Two minds are better than one!

by Angella Jacob

March 18 , 2011

Over the past few months, I have come to the realization that sometimes we just have to step outside of our comfort zone and take a chance in order for our dreams and goals to come true. Let me explain. A writer is normally a pretty solitary person, taking their thoughts and transferring them onto paper or screen. They are usually the only person ever to have any kind of say in the matter of what makes the “cut” and what remains unwritten. I have always said “alone time is production time for the writer...”...but put two creative monsters together and just watch the stories unfold!! Collaborating with another person on a creative project is a great way to grow individually and as a team player. Sometimes, we think about an idea we have and shoot it down, maybe because we don't see how it could serve us, or we don't necessarily think it is good enough. Having another creative person to bounce ideas on, and to be doing the same for them, is amazingly the simplest but yet most effective method of getting high quality feedback and letting the creative floodgates open!

Collaborating, as I see it, is each person bringing to the game their strengths, working together as a team towards a common goal. Though it can be intimidating at first, the benefits reaped far outweigh the mild case of first time collaborating-jitters. It is important to have a good balance as collaborators, with both putting in an equal amount of time and energy into the shared projects. You must make sure that all involved are comfortable with sharing their ideas, and are willing to go the distance in the long run, until the project is either completed, or both agree that it should be scrapped.

Some of the most vital attributes to look for in a collaborator, in my opinion, are as follows:

- Trust and Honesty

- Shared passion and enthusiasm towards project

- Common goal(s) and end results desired

- Intuitive “gut” it and follow it!

Some may ask themselves why collaborate? My question back is: Why not? Why not educate yourselves? Learn from each others work methods, strengths, and past experiences. Why not increase the creative flow of energy that is always in demand but never seems to have enough in stock when we most need it? Why not take on a new challenge and push yourself past your self-imposed limits? Step out of that box and fold it into an origami masterpiece is what I say! Not everyone is the same, not everyone can do everything by themselves, every time. Taking a leap of faith most often yields results that exceed the expected or desired outcome.

Years and years ago, I collaborated with a friend on writing, just for the pleasure and the challenge of it. It brought us closer together, bonding our friendship as deep as a friendship ever could be. Subsequently, his passing, and the grief that followed, was the end of a chapter in my writing in the sense that I didn't feel the writing as much afterwards. I kept writing, of course, as I have always had that in me, but the energy and the feeling behind the writing was gone. It wasn't until recently, when I met a new friend, under the strangest of circumstances, that the energy returned. By working together, by sharing ideas, thoughts, stories, characters, plots, writing styles, tips, jokes, laughter....the feeling in the writing returned three fold.

Perhaps collaborating is not for everyone. Maybe to some it sounds like an abstract formula for artistic potpourri that will forever be sitting in the bottom drawer of the mind's filing cabinet. To others it might be simply too much work to have to go through everything with someone else, unsure exactly how it all works. For others, this may all be true. For this writer, collaborating has given me wings to fly, and I plan on soaring for a long, long time...

You can now read the first collaboration result by opening “Henry” under the Short Stories tab on this site. I am thrilled to announce that several more collaborations on short stories and projects are in the planning and outlining stages as well. Keep coming back regularly to check for new content, or join our mailing list (it`s free!) and you will automatically be notified when new stories are posted.

Have a great week everyone!
Angella Jacob