"" bshawise: The Similarities of Waterskiing and Collaboration

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Similarities of Waterskiing and Collaboration

(photo by natshaw)

Every time I waterski I am reminded how much I love it. So you'd think I would look to get out and ski whenever I could. I do not. It's easier not to most of the time. It takes a lot of "work" to get to the good part. You have to wake up early in the morning and leave coffee and morning papers behind to lug 30 pound gas cans down a spiderweb covered path. Then you uncover boats and try to convince a cranky, sleepy engine to wake up. All with the end goal of jumping into cold water before the fish even wake up. Despite how wonderful skiing is I can't tell you how many times I've chosen comfort and boredom over the "hard work" of the skiing process. It's just easier to eat buttered toast and read the Dispatch over a warm mug of uppers.

I'm in the middle of working on a new screenplay. The collaboration that goes into writing is one of my favorite things. But it's not easy work. It starts with an idea. Then I talk about that idea with a few people. They either add to it or tell me it's dumb. I'll start writing and when I finish I send it around to a diverse group of readers. Every single one of them has a different take on things. I look for similarities in what they like, hate and if there's connections between their diverse views. This is a process that always always always provides great results and I'll do it with every draft. But I've had to learn to get over myself to go through with it. We all want people to love us and love what we make. So it's terrifying to invite people to tell you they don't. It'd be easier to not involve any other voices but my own in the writing process. But collaboration is where the good stuff happens. I find it thrilling when other people add to "my" idea.

I'm not saying anything new here but that doesn't make it any less true. You gotta carry two heavy ass gas cans a half a mile thru the woods thru cobwebs and stinky mud if you wanna enjoy the good stuff of waterskiing. You gotta trudge through the negative critiques and lose the ego that tells whispers "you don't need anyone" in order to enjoy the good stuff of collaboration. The comfort of doing your own easy thing over toast and a coffee is fine. But fine is boring.

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