The immediacy of colleague feedback in collaborative projects quickly goes missing when you go to work for yourself. Seeing the flash of insight in a coworker's eyes and hearing, "That's a great idea. Let's do that!!!" is something I miss a lot. It's a little thing but this kind of give-and-take is important.
Because of my recently-increased work flow solitude, I probably placed more weight on some recent email responses to something I wrote than I usually would have. I'm collaborating with a group of other freelancers to plan an event to be held in November. We'd been sent a list of perhaps 11 questions about things we need to clarify as our planning unfolds. At this point I only actually know two of the people on the email distro list.
As I wrote, I got more and more excited by the potential. It often happens with us creative types: by the time I'd reached question number 8, some new, unexpected ideas were taking shape in my head. And by the time I actually sent that email? Not only had I replied to the initial questions, but I'd spent time and space on at least 4 additional paragraphs in an attempt to convey the (to my mind) Brilliant Idea that had emerged while I was writing. I was giddy with the possibilities, and had no doubt that this excitement was more-than-evident in my email.
Of course, too, as I hit send, I got a nervous qualm in my tummy. You can't be me for this many years and not have a solid awareness that there are many people who are decidedly NOT charmed by this stream-of-consciousness, overly-enthusiastic manner of communication that often emerges when I have a spark of inspiration. Some find it tiresome. Others, frankly annoying. "Oh well," I thought. They're also creative people. They'll probably get it. And if not, there's nothing I can do about it now. They'll just say no and we'll get back to the plan as it was before I wrote."
Imagine my pleasure, then, when I received more than positive responses from the others. It's these emailed phrases I received from 3 of the others that have recharged my batteries this week:
oh my freak-- melody!!! you have more vision and motivation in your little pinky than I do in my entire body!!!! Can I have some of your brain?
DUDE. Melody, I agree on your beastliness. Uh-mazing.
Wow Melody....My version of responding to [original planner's] email was a few barely legible words scribbled on a piece of paper. I'm impressed.
Yes I know we have to find our self-worth and confidence from within. Yes I know we have to trust our own instincts and own our processes, regardless of what others think. Never mind all that. I am a social person and I thrive on collaboration. Feedback is important to me. I provide it to others and I am pleased and encouraged when others give it to me. Period.
Thanks ladies. I needed that!