Why Go It Alone?

          For about six years I strove to make it as a writer virtually on my own. One could make an argument that it was a much longer stint than that if you count my college years (which is a different discussion entirely), but then one would be a real ass. Plenty of people spend nearly a decade in college and aren’t doctors. Seriously let’s not pick at this one.

          The point is I spent the majority of the past decade writing and sending my work out into the ether with no real luck, and that is if I found an avenue down which I could submit my writing at all. The hardest part of writing for me is, and likely always will be, getting my writing into someone else’s hands.

          You see that is the real crux of it. Many writers like myself like to believe that writing is a solitary thing, some dark art conjured forth in our hermit caves where the light of day is never seen, and the outside world plays no role. Unfortunately (or otherwise… I’m still debating on this one), writing is far less solitary than one might want to believe. At the very least one core partnership must exist: the writer and the reader.

          At the start that reader is likely a close friend, a significant other, colleagues in a writer’s group, or some combination thereof. But beyond the reader, a good editor is a critical partner for any writer – a partnership we often overlook to our own detriment. Add in the numerous partnerships necessary to realize one’s writing as a comic, a film, or television series, and the truth is that very few of us write completely alone even if much of the core work is done in isolation.

          With that being the case, why is it so many writers resist partnerships? I wish I had an answer. Maybe if I did I would have realized the value in partnerships a long time ago.

          Suffice to say, after years of working on solo projects, a few years back I finally opened up to the idea of partnerships. My colleague and friend, Marielle Woods, came to me with an idea for a near-future, science-fiction short. The amazing director that she is I knew that working together we could create something wonderful.

          I worked on outlines and drafts, collaborating with Marielle until we had a polished script ready for the festival circuit. We entered the script in a small sample of competitions for testing and while the script did not advance to finals it did catch the interest of a reader who later approached me regarding adapting the script into a graphic novel. Now, our script, Arcas, is being illustrated and published by the talented JC Thomas. This is not only a fortuitous outcome in that it helps us realize our story and distribute it to an audience, but also in that it is the start of another great partnership, one in which plans for subsequent adaptations are already being discussed.

          Flashing back to just a month after Marielle and I began working together, I started a direct writing partnership with my friend Jonathan Fischer, working on a separate science-fiction piece. We built a massive world full of beautifully rich characters and alternate histories, and he, with a talent for networking that has ever eluded me, began pitching the idea.

          And we were shot down.

          But, that pitch peaked interest and led us to developing five separate one-hour drama pitches, formalizing a legal writing partnership, and has paved the way towards pitching our multiple series’ ideas. Where it goes from there I cannot yet say, but I look forward to finding the answer.

          None of this is to say, ‘Look at me, and look at what I’m doing – isn’t it amazing?’ – at least not on a conscious level. The goal of this rant is simply this: years of going it alone may have honed my writing some, but it did little to progress my career. No one is a master of all trades. In particular, I am a shambles when it comes to networking and getting read. But partnerships, good partnerships, compensate for your weaknesses with the strengths of your partner and create a force greater than the sum of its parts.

          So if you’ve been trying to go it alone for a little too long, maybe it’s time you look to your friends and your colleagues and see if there just might be a future collaboration in the making. So far, I have no regrets.

          Happy writing!