On Collaboration

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Ryan Ellis Boyd recently asked me to share a writing technique with him over on his fantastic blog, The Empty Page.

Here’s what I came up with:

FIND A COLLABORATOR.

It doesn’t have to be another writer, but it can be. On my wall, I’ve got 6 current collaborators listed. Two are artists that I’m working with on comic book projects. One is a producer that I’m working with to option a book to adapt. One is a co-writer on a screenplay. One is a co-author on a self-help book project. And one is a local director who gives me notes on a feature he wants to direct.

I list these projects above my desk so that I’m always working on one of them, and I keep in constant contact with these collaborators. They give me notes, they meet with me regularly and keep me on task. I can assign a deadline and have to stick to it because someone is always waiting on it.

And how do you find these collaborators?

All of the above were friends before they were collaborators. Though, some I sought out because I liked what they were doing. I think this is an important thing to keep in mind – look for a friend first, a collaborator second. It also helps to know that someone is going to be a pleasure to work with before you’re stuck working with them.

All are massively talented at what they do and most are at or about the same level of success as myself. They all bring something to the table that I can’t (and hopefully vice versa).

And most importantly, I tailored my work to their sensibilities and involved them very early in the process to give them a sense of ownership. They’re not employees, they’re partners. You want them as excited about the project as you are.

What about you guys? Any collaboration success stories? Or for you loners out there, what helps you stay on task?

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