Working as part of a collaboration can be a blessing–with the right people–or a curse. We’ve all heard the sayings: it takes a village, two heads are better than one, there’s no I in team. As someone who longed believed in “if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself,” I’m becoming more of a team player, and it feels freeing.
Don’t Wanna Be ALL BY MYSELF
You don’t have to do it all yourself. Being a writer, it only takes my thoughts and fingers to get something down on paper, but eventually I will ask someone else to read it, edit it, review it, etc. Having a writing group to work with not only takes the solitary stress out of writing, it motivates me to write more and helps me to write better. Unfortunately, sometimes these writing groups can fizzle out depending on the interests and schedules of others, but if you can find a steady one to stick with, then kudos to you!
Whatever your project, it can’t hurt to enlist the help of an expert in their field. Working with someone who knows what they’re talking about is a huge plus when you don’t have a clue. When you have an expert on your side, your mind is free to focus on what you can bring to the table.
When I wanted to revamp my website, I could have gone the easy DIY route and picked another templated site with the same format as so many other sites out there, but I happened to meet a web designer who knew much more about social media marketing than I did. The result: a complete, customized overhaul of my website, and more tips and tricks to marketing myself than I could have imagined. Plus, this designer just so happened to need a writer to help with content for his website and blogging. It was a win/win for all!
Collaborating with others mean cooperating with others and their schedules. Whether you need to plan a meeting or set a deadline, there’s a lot more to consider when there are more people involved. You give up some control of certain situations, especially if you’re relying on your collaborator’s ability to get a project moving. If one of the team members becomes difficult to work with, it can bring the project down.
After writing multiple picture book manuscripts, I began looking for the perfect Illustrator to capture my vision. First, I tried the standard route of submitting to agents and publishers. When that didn’t pan out, I turned to friends and recommended contacts who were all excited about the project–in the beginning. Some got too involved in other projects and others just lost interest. When it started to become more frustrating than fun, I did what I probably should have done in the beginning. I enlisted the services of a professional children’s book illustrator. Browsing through her portfolio, I could already picture these illustrations telling my story. Luckily, not only is she talented and can clearly see my vision, she’s personable and easy to work with–which is equally important in any collaboration.
Give & Take
Working with others doesn’t have to be a constant struggle. One person shouldn’t have to do all the work or make all the sacrifices. The best part about collaborating is challenging each other to be better, having a built-in cheering section, and creating a motivational environment where you both can benefit and grow.