I’ve fallen in love with collaborative working!
I mentioned in my last post, but I’ve recently entered into a little collab with a dear friend. Working alongside another person has really given me a lot of drive and motivation, and it has made me excited to see what we produce as a duo.
Collaboration can be a way of pooling resources, and creating strategies to get your work out there. It makes you feel more confident that your work is good, and that you’ve got someone who’s watching your back. Through collaboration, ideas can be changed, minds can be expanded, and new things can be created which would never have existed otherwise. Collaboration is a way of expressing outwards, which is especially good for someone like me (INTP, ughhhh) who is not usually good at tooting their own horn or making useful connections with others. It also helps me to focus on one thing at a time, as I tend to write many things at once, but struggle to find the motivation to finish many of them.
We are planning a poetry book – I’m doing the words, she’s doing the images. To be honest, poetry isn’t even my main bag. I prefer writing short stories. But she read my poems and something just clicked – we both suddenly had a vision for this project. And, maybe no-one will read it. Maybe no-one will notice. But we want to create something we’re proud of, and we want anyone who happens to find our work in their hands or on the screen in front of them to feel different after having read it – whether that’s more understood, stronger, or even confused and like their world-view has just shifted slightly.
That sense of friendship and solidarity is so life-giving, and is especially useful when working on creative or social endeavours. It can also be especially important when you’re both 20-something WOC trying to get yourself out there and realise your dreams; when you’re trying to carve out a niche for yourself and others which has not previously existed, or been allowed to exist. It’s easier to overcome any barriers you might face when you’re together, and its more exciting, interesting and affirming to document your experiences and plan stuff with another person.
And collaboration doesn’t have to come in such an official form, either. We collaborate every day, with our friends and people we work or study with. We build each other up, support each other, give advice, encourage each other to do new things and believe in ourselves. Hell, even a night out with your besties can be an act of collaboration.
As someone who helped people set up a Black Feminist reading group (and eventual society) at my uni, and who was part of a group of three girls who worked together to create campaigns on behalf of BME students, I really feel the importance of strong women working together to change things. The sense of purpose, solidarity and creativity that accompanies brainstorming with similar minds is so precious.
There’s nothing I like to see more than all-female groups creating and innovating and changing the narrative. And that’s where I get my inspiration from – from projects and artists who put the female experience at the forefront of their work, who create things which make you think, which are spiritual, intellectual, and comforting to those who are lost or invisible.
I look to these groups (and the individuals in them), and seeing their output and their existence in the world, seeing them take up space, is enough for me – no tangible physical connection is even needed; this stuff can have a real impact virtually and visually on a person’s life, outlook, and perception of themselves.
I look forward to being part of more groups in the future, where the people become parts that fit together, where each has their own role, where all act as a soundboard for the others, where light is perfectly balancing with dark. Sometimes to get something done, you just need to join forces.