I think the hardest part of working in any creative industry is learning the art of letting go. My editor used you highlight my beautifully crafted, overly long, and poetically delicate sentences as “purple prose”. And then, she would cross them out with a second comment, “I’m sorry, but I’m killing your darlings.”
Of course I was like, “No! Don’t kill my babies!” But when you take a step back and realize what they are doing you can see the brilliance of collaboration. When you are the only person working on a project, it’s hard not to see the story, the beauty and the artwork as a masterpiece. When someone else joins the process and they adjust your masterpiece it can be hard criticism to take but it’s a necessary process to diversify your work.
The best advice I’ve received when it comes to writing, is from a friend of mine in the feature industry. She said, “The best work comes from multiple minds and background, coming together to collaborate the perfect storm of brilliance. You have to be willing to bend and compromise over ideas in order to find the balance of perfection.”
Sometimes collaboration is hard, but it is in the end, absolutely necessary. When you are working closely on a project, it becomes your baby. You will miss holes and ignore blaring issues because you see the picture as a whole. New eyes bring new perspectives, which is why Editors, Agents, Publishers, Beta Readers, and Consumers are necessary to finding success.
All in all, trying to give your precious baby over to anyone else is tough. But keep in mind that it’s necessary! A great example for me is my first book, Praetorian Rising. I am a writer that loves the details, the slow building words that create a mood, an image, a scene. I like to describe the actions of a room and what is happening around the conversations to get the reader inside the moment itself. A lot of times I OVER describe and the reader gets lost in the details. My first editor pointed this out to me and I took the advice halfway, but by the time I got to my second editor she put the kabash on my long extended scenes that didn’t leave ANY mystery for the reader to discover. I learned the art of details, without over describing the moment. A lot of times, we need to trust our audience to fill in the details. Keep in mind, generally, they are smarter than you think they are and even worse, sometimes your BIG REVEAL isn’t as hidden as you think it is!
All in all, the biggest lessoned learned, without varying opinions and thoughts on your creative work you may find that your product isn’t as fleshed out and rich as it could be. We all have our own backgrounds, our lives lived giving us each different experiences to pull from. Cutting yourself off from that is going to hurt your final product. Don’t be afraid of different ideas, opinions and inputs. Your final masterpiece will thank you for it!