A Delicate Balance
Picking partners is so freaking hard.
The deeper I get into my so-called writing career, the more two things become apparent. 1.) I don’t particularly like writing alone, and I’m better when I work with people. 2.) Every person I meet is virtually impossible for me to collaborate with.
I don’t mean that as an insult to eight billion people. Art is just a personal thing and visions rarely align. It’s not just visions of the final product that need to match up, but the process as well. Collaborating with people who have different work ethics, preferred schedules, and career plans is equally frustrating. But we keep going because we have no other choice.
I’ve vented about my writing partners on here before (and I’m sure they’ve all complained about me on their professional development blogs). But the reality is, writing with somebody is probably the worst hobby on earth, except all the other ones. As much as it annoys me, there’s nothing that brings me more joy than when it goes well.
I’ve had a couple of potential partners who were exactly like me. The same work ethic, liked to write at the same times, responded to emails in the same way. And yet, the work we created was never that good. I suppose that some of that could be attributed to youth, but it became clear that none of those partnerships were worth sticking with.
The one partnership that has lasted, that’s fueled my creativity since high school, is with my best friend who couldn’t work more differently from me. As writers, we have nothing in common besides ideas and a shared sense of humor. This often leads to a tense process, as we do everything differently and wish the other one would follow suit. I frequently find myself incredibly annoyed, and questioning why I keep doing it.
And yet unlike my other partners, the scripts keep getting better.
I should clarify that I absolutely love the guy personally, we just disagree about writing processes. But while artistic harmony never got me anywhere, the artistic tension we share ends up elevating our scripts to a level I can’t get from anyone else.
I wish I could say there was some incredible contest of ideas going on, and our disagreements led to the best possible scenes being written. But we actually agree on 95% of what goes into the scripts. We just have completely different perspectives on how to execute it. And these two different processes leave us determined to one up each other, which results in some incredibly interesting writing.
The older you get, the harder it seems to find anyone who agrees with you. Maybe that’s overrated anyway.