Many people know me in the author community as an expert in collaboration. I have done both creative and marketing collaborations with dozens of other authors.
I have co-written novels, short stories, and worked with my partner Zach Bohannon on writer’s retreats. We both firmly believe that collaboration is critical to the future of the publishing industry, and we believe that so much that we wrote a book about it.
Unfortunately, collaboration is still a relatively new concept in the author community. Musicians, movie producers, and television producers have been doing this for decades. They understand the power of collaboration, that a song becomes better when a band jams together in a room and figures it out. Production companies have writer’s rooms where the writers get together and work on a movie script or a television episode. They understand inherently the value and power of having multiple heads into a single creative output or story.
As authors, we have a romantic vision of what it means to be a writer. We envision time spent in a cabin in the woods, typing away by ourselves on the next masterpiece. But this is a fantasy and not the truth.
Zach and I realized early on in our professional relationship that we tell better stories together than we do apart. We balance each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and we have developed a system that leverages our strengths and minimizes those weaknesses.
But we are outliers, and we understand this. It is still quite difficult to get authors to consider collaboration even when the benefits are obvious. That is why it is much easier to show you how collaboration can be a benefit instead of telling you why it can.
Starting a collaboration is not an easy process. It is difficult to find the right collaborator, decide how to do it, when to do it, and what to do when it’s finished. Therefore, a mastermind group is the perfect place to experiment with collaboration and figure out how it can fuel your creative endeavor.
Without fail, collaborations tend to spring out of mastermind groups. I have seen this as a participant of mastermind groups as well as someone who runs them. People get to know each other, they develop a deep bond and friendship, and then, it becomes easier to consider a collaborative project. They already know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and have a personal connection that they otherwise wouldn’t have.
The types of collaborations that arise out of mastermind groups can cover a wide spectrum of activities. Writing together is one form of collaboration, but it is not the only one.
I’ve seen members of mastermind groups get together on a specific advertising or marketing campaign, an anthology, a short story collection, or various other activities that they couldn’t do or couldn’t do as well by themselves.
Most of the time, this type of collaboration is not forced upon the attendees by the leader of the mastermind. It is something that naturally extends out of the experience of showing up and being accountable to the same people over and over again. And as you can imagine, these collaborations often extend beyond the life of the mastermind group. Ten years later, I am still friends and collaborating with people who I met in a mastermind group.
And even if you don’t intend to create a long-term collaborative relationship with a member of a mastermind group, you gain the ability and experience to do so in the wider author community. Once you could collaborate in a low-stakes, low-pressure environment, it becomes easier to transfer that skill set into something that’s a little more involved or intricate. Authors in a mastermind group may start by cowriting short stories, and soon after that, find themselves collaborating on novels or even on a long-running series.
One of the biggest questions I get about collaboration is, “How do you find the perfect partner?” which is sort of like asking how to find a spouse. You’ll probably have to date around and have some failures before you find the right person. Collaboration isn’t any different, and there’s no guarantee that just because you are friends with someone that they will make a good collaborative partner.
However, being in a mastermind group with a potential partner can eliminate some of the anxiety around those initial relationship-building activities. You are already starting on common ground in an exclusive group with a common goal and focus. Therefore, your chance of beginning a collaborative relationship while in a mastermind seems to be much higher than it would be in a large Facebook group or online forum.
That doesn’t mean you must be in a mastermind group to collaborate, but you’ll definitely find the dynamics within the group conducive to collaboration. Because you are meeting regularly, you get insights into other people’s personalities and working styles, both of which are critical components when collaborating.
And even if you don’t end up with a long-term collaboration with a new business partner, the skills you’re building within the mastermind group can easily be applied to any future collaborative endeavors you might begin.
Want to take your writing chops and business savvy to the next level? Check out The Author Success Mastermind group at https://theauthorsuccessmastermind.com/join/