Life, Writing Process

Collaboration – Yeah, I should stop and listen…

My current job is all about collaborating. I write up technical pieces with engineers to make sure what they want to say gets across. Of course, collaborating is the furthest thing from easy and I’m not an expert at it. Collaborating creatively is even harder.

As you may have guessed by now, creating is very personal to me. Professional projects in the end are work and I am able to separate my emotions from getting in the way of feedback (usually). However, with creative projects, collaboration is difficult.

For professional projects, typically, the project is discussed, expectations are agreed upon, and then deadlines laid out. In a creative setting, sometimes I get ahead of myself because it’s fun and exciting and new. There aren’t any real expectations, there usually aren’t any true deadlines, and sometimes details are never actually discussed.

So, what can I do to make sure I’m not just steamrolling every creative project people want to do with me?

Listen.

Wow, yeah, that’s really simple, but I am not good at that when it comes to creative stuff. Why? Because it’s personal to me! I have a very loud Creative Self when it gets going and an even louder Critical Self. So, when somebody tries to talk over either of those, it’s very hard to listen. To be clear, I don’t actually HEAR voices, it’s more like a consciousness thing and…oh, you get it! Getting both of those to be quiet so that I can actually hear what the other collaborator is trying to bring to the table will be the game changer.

When talking about creative potential creative projects, people are already telling me the expectations. I just need to frame the conversation to make sure I understand the expectations and the potential timeframes the person has in mind. Because honestly, they do have expectations and timelines even if they’re not outright saying it. My Critical Self loves an outline and rules to follow, and my Creative Self loves a new project.

It works with professional projects, it’ll work with creative collaborations (hopefully).

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