Last week, as I was typing up my interview with Aaron Wood, one thing he said really stood out to me:
“People aren’t working together.
They’re working to get their art seen first or seen the most.”
That statement stayed with me. Because I believe it’s true. It happens. We create and we want what we create to be SEEN and adored. That is all.
I know creating can be very personal.
It seems like a lonely job, by nature. But, it doesn’t have to be.
We could do better than that. Better for ourselves and for our peers.
So, let’s learn how to collaborate a little more, OK?
I’m going to suggest some ways HOW. And then I HOPE you add your own suggestions in the comments, because I don’t have all the answers.
I know Stephen King said, “write with the door closed” and it’s true: I need silence when I write. But, with creating, in general, a little company goes a long way, so I’m going to suggest you try something different.
The Andy Warhol Way
Part of what made Andy Warhol such a brilliant Artist was that he didn’t work alone. I’ve read about his “coloring parties” where people would come over and help him color his drawings.
His peers didn’t just help him produce Art.
He listened to them.
They exchanged ideas.
They fed off of each other’s creativity.
This collaboration process is exactly what made up “the factory” or Andy Warhol Enterprises – a multi-million dollar business.
Collaborating in Our Virtual Worlds
Realistically, we can’t always get together in person and create.
If Warhol was that resourceful with his peers back then, imagine how he would have capitalized on social media if he was an Artist of THIS generation?
“I’m the type who’d be happy not going anywhere as long as I was sure I knew exactly what was happening at the places I wasn’t going to. I’m the type who’d like to sit home and watch every party that I’m invited to on a monitor in my bedroom.”
― Andy Warhol
Umm, yeah… I have this weird feeling Warhol would’ve embraced social media just fine ;)
Maybe he would’ve approached it a lot like my friend, Aaron…
Build a huge following right from Google+ by creating lots of art, generously share his ideas and progress with his friends, ask for feedback, create lots more art, and build relationships every chance he got.
So, if you can’t meet in person (and I know in person is better) there’s still plenty of opportunity to collaborate in our virtual hangouts.
Does the idea of factory-like collaboration intimidate you?
No worries. Keep it simple and intimate.
Get yourself a peer editor.
And don’t skip this if you’re not a writer.
All creative work requires editing. Writing, painting, photography, sewing, crafts, singing, knitting, and so-on. We begin creating and then we adjust, refine, and repeat until it’s right (or good enough).
Who do you ask to help you with this editing process?
Here’s what Jeff Goins suggests and I completely agree:
This should be someone bold — a person who will call you out and hold you accountable.
You need a person you can trust. So that when this person criticizes your work, you know it’s not to tear you down, but to build you up.
Sometimes, I’m scared to allow someone to see my unfinished work.
When I was a kid and I was drawing and someone would walk by, I would hover over my work. And if someone dared ask to see my progress, I would quickly say, “noooo… it’s not DONE!”
I still have moments where I act like that. I’m not that dramatic about it anymore, but I still have “hovering moments”.
But, when I look back and compare my hovering moments with my collaborative moments – times where I would allow someone to be a part of my creative process – there’s no question…
More often than not, the collaborative moments produced better results.
I read an article about how collaboration is simply SHARING.
Share your resources, connections, your stories of success and failure.
Build relationships with other Artists based on this one simple idea:
“If you seek to be creative, start by being generous.
Like blue, indigo and violet, they live together.”
When I first read the above quote in the book, Graceful, I didn’t quite get it. What does generosity have to do with creativity?… Sooo much!
Imagine if every creative generously shared the things I mentioned above? How do you think that would impact your work? Would you be more creative?… Umm, yeah!
Many creatives hold on way too tight to their ideas and what they’re working on. As if, creativity is a well that can dry up. As if, we need to protect it out of fear of losing it.
It is SO much the opposite.
The more you create and exchange ideas and insight, the better your ideas will evolve.
But, I’d rather hear from you! How else could creatives collaborate?
By the way, by commenting and sharing your own suggestions, you’re collaborating with me on this very article. You’re helping me offer the most insight and depth to my readers.
So… THANK YOU, in advance ;)