Collaboration musings

 (Note: I was going to post this as a comment on Jeannine’s blog post of 01-01-11, but I decided it would be better, for a variety of reasons, to put it here. It was inspired by part of her post about my wanting to collaborate with her, and some of her commenters’ comments about collaborating.)

From my experience in three major collaborations*, each lasting several years, I can say that one of the most important elements is a willingness on each collaborator’s part to be proven wrong. In the collaborations in which I’ve been a participant, I have found myself quite often holding very passionate beliefs about what I thought were either really good ideas, or, conversely, what were really BAD ideas.

But I discovered early on that if your collaborator can make a compelling enough argument converse to your point of view, it is actually easy to let go of your position, because what you realize is that it is best for the sake of the collaborative work. And that is really the whole point of collaborating — to bring together the strengths of two (or more) different people and allow them to compensate for the weaknesses of the other(s). If collaborators can get to that point where they recognize and appreciate that the person or persons they are collaborating with CAN occasionally do certain things better than they can, the collaboration is on the road to being successful.

Admittedly, it can be difficult. You may think you have a good, perfectly serviceable idea, and wonder why it has to be set aside in favor of someone else’s idea. The fact of the matter is this — your idea MAY in fact be exactly that, good and serviceable… but your collaborator may have a BETTER idea. Once you — and, on the other hand, your collaborator, when YOUR idea is the better one — can accept this and move on, that’s when things really get interesting, and the collaboration can move forward and be FUN!

I do understand that collaboration is not for everyone, and Jeannine may be one of those people to whom it will never feel quite "right". And she has done some amazing work without collaboration, so there is no particular need for her to do it.

But I still have hope. — PL

*Those would be, in chronological order, the TMNT comics with Kevin Eastman (1983 to about 1989); "Planet Racers" with Jim Lawson (mid-1990’s); and the 4Kids TMNT tv series with Lloyd Goldfine et al (2002 to 2008…? My memory for some dates is not that great). — PL

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