How to Reap the Rewards of Online Collaboration

online collaborationCollaboration has been the highlight of my online experience thus far. Of course I love the actual writing, the meeting of new people, and the building of a new life minus the old limits. Yet none of it compares to the simple pleasures I’ve found in the back and forth of constant, consistent collaboration.

The Inkwell exists because of a ping in my inbox nearly a year ago.

When Dave first contacted me out of the wide blue whatever, it was to to grumble a bit about my having stolen his domain name. For the few of you who haven’t yet heard us ramble on about the story, Dave went to register Writer Dad, hedged, and in the odd synchronicity of a who knows how many minutes, the name fell into my server.

Actually, Dave’s grousing wasn’t grousing at all. Rather, it was the opening act to his compliment. Here’s an excerpt from that first email:

“However, this is not an email to tell you what a jerk you are. From what I’ve seen so far, you’re doing GREAT work on this blog! Your posts are at times touching and inspirational.
As for me, I was forced to find a name which actually might work better with the humorous aspects of the site. So, um… thank you.”

Our connection was instant and collaboration immediate. Dave and I have exchanged more words than I can count: emails, drafts, ideas, pictures, sentence fragments, poems, artwork, (horribly inappropriate punch lines), you name it and it’s been passed between us.

The best collaboration bears the sweetly ripened fruit of blended thought, where one idea falls into the next and takes the seam along with it. Collaboration has crowded our hard drives with ink stained ambition, moving us slow and steady, step by step toward the endlessly exciting unknown.

I am proud of my friendship with Dave and look forward to pulling the most we can from our mutual workspace. I love placing my thoughts against his, not merely because of the creative rewards it welcomes, but because of the potential it holds. As people, we are often imprisoned by the looping patterns of redundant thought. Even the best of us have a difficult time spotting the obvious circles in our reasoning until we are coupled with another and able to stare into the prism of their unique perspective.

Effective collaboration urges us to either color outside our lines or keep the tints tightly restrained within the borders of a different idea. Collaboration is a process not an event; a well of ideas drawn by two or more people combining thought until arriving at the intersection of common vision.

Creativity is stoked by discovery and in a true collaboration the role of leader is constantly in flux. Making a living online is difficult. Too many variables and too much uncertainty can make it even harder. I am thankful for my constant collaboration, where the conclusion of every project sees me with a sharpened skill set and a thicker bond.

Getting going online is hard, but it doesn’t have to be lonely.

The Collective Inkwell Community Question: Has online collaboration helped you achieve your goals or made you feel less lonely?


8 responses to How to Reap the Rewards of Online Collaboration

  1. Davina

    Cute story Sean. I remember my first contact with Dave. He left a comment on my first blog — something about a snotty nose or something to that effect. Sounds like him doesn’t it? 🙂

    Davina’s last blog post..On the Edge of Being

  2. Sean

    Vered: I think it’s my favorite online story so far. It’s almost a year old though, I think I might be needing a new one soon. Like maybe how Random House called us up that one day or something.

    Davina: Yes, it definitely sounds like him. I’m sure it was quite clever.

    Dave: Me too, brutha. Me too.

    Tracy: It was like total destiny, man!

  3. Bamboo Forest - PunIntended

    Collaboration is where it’s at. It can be very effective in giving you an edge over the competition.

    Simply put: Two minds are better than one.

    I collaborate with my brother, FlyingLlamaFish, on how to implement various strategies, and certainly, as a result, the final product is better than it otherwise could have been.

    The InkWell’s alive and well.

    Bamboo Forest – PunIntended’s last blog post..7 Things to Do Before You Die

  4. jan geronimo

    Lovely story. I wish I’d find my own David soon…. That’s true – so much going behind that blog readers hardly know about – emails flying back and forth, IM, tweets and even phone calls. They’re very interesting and can be outstanding stories themselves. But of course, who’d care about our disheveled thoughts, penchant for risque jokes, right? Friendship and collaboration rule!

    jan geronimo’s last blog post..7 Tips to Keep You from Killing Your Own Blog

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