You know when you have that “banging your head up against a brick wall” moment, otherwise known as “Why the heck does what I’m trying to do sometimes feel hopeless?!”
When you are an independent artist working and creating by yourself 99% of the time, you will find that you have these moments more often than not. Sometimes you have to force yourself to come up with new ways to stay focused, driven and not wanting to just scream at your artist-self for being so difficult. More times than I’d like to admit, I have been so close to having that “It’s not you it’s me” talk with myself and literally walking away from… well, me. Anybody else ever do that?
If you are doing this a lot– beating yourself up Fight Club style– you might want to rethink your game-planning strategies and allow for some more artists to come into your work zone. Here are three reasons why you should step out of your angsty lone-wolf/“every human for themselves” status, and collaborate with one or more artists so you can feed your soul.
1) Working With Others Holds You Accountable
All day long we have to be our own bosses on our own self-starter projects, constantly motivating ourselves, scheduling what time to start one task– and what time to end– in order to move on to the next. Most of the time we can’t really pay ourselves (yet) so imagine clocking in anywhere from an 8-12 hour day where you are both the employer and the employee… But, when you are involved in projects with other artists– things really start to shake up. You have a verbal contract to meetup at certain times at certain locations and you are less likely to cancel. You have tasks and deadlines that you have agreed to complete before your next meetup and you are more apt to do it bc you know others are depending on you. As human beings, we tend to get things done when we know it affects others more than if it only affects ourselves. Accountability. It’s what’s for dinner.
2) Two Creative Heads Can Be Better Than One
Yeah yeah, I know most of us on our own are creatively brilliant in our own right. I get it. HOWEVER… what happens when you get stumped or are experiencing writer’s block? Have a question about line producing (I ALWAYS have a question about freaking line producing!). Or, you are wondering if your amazing idea has ever been done before (it probably has) and if so, what can you do to create new and sexy hooks?
When you are collaborating with others you get to bounce a lot of your ideas off of someone else– and vice versa. You receive and give out constructive criticism and positive feedback. Most of the ideas you have will be enhanced simply because someone else will encourage you to think outside of your creative box in order to flesh it out more. Plus, it’s highly beneficial to learn from other perspectives and keep an open mind. When you collaborate, you learn a lot about the craft and about yourself.
3) Collaboration Begets Networking Opportunities To Meet More Artists
Think about it. If you were to stay in your little corner only working on your own projects and not talking to anybody about them, how in the world do you expect to meet anyone? Newsflash: Los Angeles is the capital of Networking. This city is full of unlimited opportunities AS LONG AS YOU KNOW PEOPLE. Pre-West Coast days, I had always heard that LA is about who you know and I really couldn’t comprehend at the time how exactly #onfleek this saying is. Now, having lived here almost a decade, I wholeheartedly agree. If you are a content creator, you realistically cannot do every single job that it takes to get a project completed, so it is entirely in your favor to meet as many people as possible and broadcast what you are looking for in all your respective collaborations. Everyone here knows someone who can help you with what you need– plus you will find your skills are needed for someone else’s project. It’s a win-win!
These days, like many indie artists I know, I am juggling enough projects and industry tasks to make all of our heads spin like Linda Blair’s character in The Exorcist: All are sharp needles being pushed forward. All will be accomplished over time.
Yet, even with all this: I. Want. More. Yep, you heard me right… Because so many of our projects out here can take a looong time to see the light of day, the “DIY, indie-creator” voice inside of me has been practically “begging” myself to create something FAST and FANTASTIC. To scratch that itch of “producing content” with a small footprint (instead of only creating projects that often take months and years to complete). My solution to this gut-feel? I have just started collaborating with an old friend– like minded body image advocate actress/writer Ann Mahoney— to work together on an idea we are both extremely passionate about.
PSI (Plus Size Inspiration) has been a smooth transition from just casually talking about a few ideas– to actually doing several really cool vlogs together– to becoming a future show. Because most of my other projects are spent with only me behind the wheel, PSI has added a refreshing vibe to my day, providing me with an extra collaborative dash of adrenaline to keep my creative instincts flowing. In a cutthroat world such as ours, it truly is an amazing thing when you can say you accomplished something as a team.
I read somewhere that competition makes us faster. That may be true– but collaboration makes us better.