This past weekend, between programs in South Dakota/Iowa and Kentucky, I had the pleasure of staying with my good buddy Mark just outside of Nashville. Mark and I have known each other some 20 years now. We have co-produced six children's albums together. We've played dozens of concerts together. And we have written any number of songs and scripts together.
I love the collaboration process.
Okay, maybe it's more honest to say I love the results of a good collaboration. Somewhere in the messy middle, when momentum is carrying things along and ideas and seeds of ideas are being added and discarded, an almost chemical reaction happens. You take my idea and run with it in a direction I wouldn't have considered. I interrupt your new direction with an idea I had earlier. Or was that originally your idea? I don't remember anymore.
The results are always more than one plus one.
But, again to be honest, the collaboration process also frightens me; often frustrates me. It magnifies my need to be in charge - to make the big decisions. And it forces me to let go, to have faith that something bigger is waiting if I just open the door to the unexpected.
I'm in the early-ish stages of producing a podcast series for kids. (More on that later.) Mark and I spent one morning writing the script for one short sketch. The results, after all of the back-and-forth, is a script that is maybe a standout against all of the other sketches I had written earlier on my own. Once again the collaboration process proved itself. It frustrated me, challenged me, and, in the end, surprised me.
I have to add that I trust Mark. I trust his instincts. I trust that he will be forgiving when ideas of his are discarded. I trust that he will contribute his share and will challenge my own contributions. That part - having the right collaborative partner - is huge. Being the right collaborative partner is maybe even more important.
Tell me about your own collaboration experiences, good or bad. Did they scare you? Discourage you? In the end, did they reward you?