The Power of Collaboration

The Power of Collaboration

I am writing as usual, in the morning. But today I am working alongside a woman named Sierra who is wearing a panda bathrobe. It is the type kids wear, with an animal face on the hood. Sierra is also a writer and I just met her, but for now, I know all I need to know. Like me, she is working on a novel and novel writing can be a lonely business. I should clarify, we are not physically together, we are in a Google hangout. When I received the email invitation to join other writers in a virtual workspace, it struck me as an odd concept, yet I readily signed on. Why? I have come to appreciate the power of collaboration.

I am in the final weeks of a brainstorming project in which fifteen of us, artists, poets, novelists and a chef, each set goals for our creative work. This Mastermind, lead by Dan Blank of WeGrowMedia, is structured so that we work together. The problems we can’t solve, the next steps we can’t yet envision, are put to the collective brainpower of the group. An idea is suggested and then built upon. A question is asked and a new perspective offered. What felt out of reach begins to feel possible and each of us moves ahead with new enthusiasm. That collaboration is the Big Magic of the process, to borrow a phrase from Liz Gilbert. Besides being effective, collaborating is just a lot more fun than going it alone.

A friend of mine is in the Antarctic right now, one of 76 women scientists taking part in a global collaboration. The three-week journey is the largest ever expedition of women to the Antarctic. Together, they aim to find ways to promote women in science and leadership and create strategies to impact policy and move our planet toward a sustainable future. It is an expensive undertaking and for many, a logistical challenge to leave families and jobs. What makes it worthwhile is the opportunities for collaboration: three weeks of shared inspiration, of imagining together what is possible and finding common ground and breakthroughs, all exponentially bigger than what each woman could accomplish on her own.

Consider this newsletter my calling card to collaboration. Send me a note and tell me what you are working on. What next step are you taking in your writing or creative project? I welcome questions about my novel in progress and ideas for future posts.

Speaking of questions, I’m still writing, in the Google hangout. It’s a little more low-key than the high-spirited Mastermind I mentioned above. Eight of us are typing, saying hello, asking questions of one another’s projects. Hang on; someone just messaged Sierra: “Is that a bathrobe?” She was quick to reply and apparently it’s not a bathrobe at all, it’s a onesie. Writers.

More about the Homeward Bound Antarctic expedition

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