Creative Collaboration vs the Island of Inspiration

Ironically over the past few days I have read two different blogs which each have made vehement cases for their position on personal creativity. 

The first blog painted a convincing  picture of the beauty of many fingers in the paint moving together to create something more than what one could. I have gotten to see that in action over these past few years in songwriting, design and filmmaking, so I felt moved to throw up that virtual high five. 

Then yesterday I ran across another blog that was towing the line of “trust yourself in your art”. He talked about the danger of feedback turning what was once a beautiful authentic expression of your inspiration into a whittled down, calculated, overanalyzed “Frankenstein’s monster” of suggested tweaks, which over the past few years I also have gotten to see in songwriting, design and filmmaking.

So then what do you do?

I go back to the thing I used to tell every new pledge during their trial period coming into my old college fraternity (which by the way half of you just quit reading because I said I was in a fraternity) I would always look them in their hopeful eyes and say,

“You have heard it said that the last shall be first and the first shall be last, but I add that the middle will always be the middle.”

Now this isn’t a pledge to mediocrity like it may seem but instead it’s a call to stick your hand out in front of the swinging pendulum that wrecks MOST everything in our society from social movements, church styles, fashion, politics, pretty much anything that can have two sides. 

How do I find the middle on creative collaboration vs the island of inspiration

1. Realize that your next piece of art is likely not your last. Don’t hold so tightly that you can’t allow other eyes. If it goes wrong, there’s always another song or another version

2. What’s the purpose of your creative piece? If it is something that reflects your team then let them be able to ratify what their name will be attached to. 

3. Reserve the right of refusal. If you have a clear vision for your art at the beginning then reserve the right to just simply say “I see what you are saying, but that is going a different direction than what this is.” 

Now the idea of any of that in your context might seem completely ridiculous. If that is the case then I will say with almost complete certainty that you are missing the one crucial piece of creative collaboration which is TRUST. 

Trust is the base ingredient of allowing anyone to be a part of your creativity. You can push a project through a lot of hands and socially navigate the yes’s and the no’s about it if you have a trust that flows both ways.

If someone I trust says no to my suggestion about their chorus melody, that doesn’t create some seismic event it just lets me know that I may have helped solidify their original idea. 

So start today with one of these things:

– Who is your team of trust or who could it be in the future?

– Do some evaluating: look back (since it is always 20/20) and see what was the outcome of your collaborative works and then of things you completely owned on your own. It will certainly help your next steps. 

– Lastly KEEP CREATING! everyday will have excuses, but everyday you can live against them. 




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