Tuesday, June 22, 2010


There's something about collaborating with someone, creatively... I'm a big believer in things adding up to more than the sum of their parts. Take my 365 photo project. Tons of people start them -- dutifully taking a new photo each day and posting it on the internet. And that's great. But what keeps me interested in mine, what keeps me pressing that shutter, is that I'm collaborating. Each day a friend and coworker of mine posts her photo alongside mine. The result is something more than just a photo-a-day. Sure, quite often the combination of the two photos isn't spectacular. A typical pairing rarely inspires an "ooh" or an "ah." But sometimes an unexpected theme shows up or things get just plain creepy.

And I see opportunities for this kind of thing every day. I want to collaborate with my friends and relatives. I want to write books together. Make photo albums. I want to make stuff.

I've noticed that my friends and relatives have such unique views and experiences that I can't help but wonder at how much better the meager things I create could be... How much they could benefit from an influx of creativity and perspective.

I have another friend at work who has inspired me to write some very fun sarcastic and silly stuff. And he did it just by participating in some silly IM conversations with me.

I met a fellow aspiring author via Twitter and the opportunities for collaboration are real, even though he's a complete stranger to me.

I remember one time my best friend showed me some of the ideas he had for novel plots and I got so excited about them I was jumping from foot to foot while reading them. Alas, they remain unwritten!

Just this last weekend my cousin came to visit. He's about my age and has a family almost identical to mine (wife, two daughters, similar ages). The things that interest him are things on which I'd have never spared a second glance. He really cares about the story behind things, about how things got the way they are and everything he does is steeped in nostalgia. Hearing about them from his point of view made me interested, made me want to experience them. I want to see the world through his eyes, and what better way than working on something artistic together?

Sometimes it's just not as easy as saying "we should work on that together." People are busy, schedules don't align. Does asynchronous collaboration work well?

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