I have an article due this morning on the topic of collaboration. Ironically, I’m writing it alone. I prefer it that way. I’m thinking this morning about why that is and whether it’s a character flaw of mine or just a personal preference.
The article is for Worship Leader Magazine and the issue I’m writing for is all about this idea of creating together – something I shy away from, especially in song writing. When I co-write a song, which I rarely ever do, I walk away feeling compromised. I leave knowing that a line I loved got scrapped or a melody in the bridge isn’t something I can sing or an entire verse doesn’t sound like something I’d say. I walk in wanting to leave with a song dominated by my choices, done my way from start to finish, and exit disappointed.
I was thinking about all this while getting kids ready for the day – making breakfast, brushing hair into pony tails, pouring juice – and preparing in my head for the final rewriting still needed on my article this morning. It dawned on me that at this point in the day, the breakfast and getting ready time, Becky and I are the least collaborative. She has her ways and I have mine and we don’t compromise.
I insist my two oldest cut up their own breakfast and Becky does it for them as soon as I leave the room. I can’t get my big fingers to wrap a band around a ponytail three times so I leave it at two. Becky twists it a third on the way out the door. She tells Gabriella she can’t wear short sleeves and I, not knowing this, tell her it’s all right if she wears a heavy coat outside. On and on it goes, we do and redo, stumbling over each other all morning. There’s too much to get done to cooperate.
Strange that two people who love each other as much as we do so naturally refuse to work together on such trivial matters.
I’m wondering if we do this for the same reasons I don’t cowrite. If it’s going to be done well it has to be done by me and my way. I’m too busy to be slowed down by you. Or maybe I’m such a bad communicator that I know instinctively I’d be no good at collaboration. I think mostly – for me – the problem is primarily my inability to walk into breakfast or church or a writing room being OK leaving in a while with something that’s not entirely controlled by and a reflection of me. What do you think? Are you any good at collaboration? You’re not? Why?
I’m off to rewrite.