Assemble Your Crew

Today I had another call with my Mistressmind girl gang. We talked about building waiting lists to control work flow, equity partnerships and how to deal with clients who think it’s OK to try to circumvent your process.

We also talked (raged) about Lisbon’s take-away coffee ban, where we are gonna go for a luxury getaway when lockdown is all over, and why the hell it’s so hard to wake up on time right now.

Honestly it was the best part of my day, and it was a pretty good day. I got to talk to my literary fairy godmother who continues to be the model of patience while I work out what I’m doing with this book, and there was leftover Thai.

We need days like this when we’re deep in the process of producing something.

When you’re so close to your project that you can barely see straight, when the words are blurring on the page after being scrutinised for the millionth time, when all you want to do is literally anything else but this damn idea won’t leave you alone…

You need your crew. The people that have known you for yonkers and know your BS and  what you’re trying to do and why you’re pushing so hard.

They’ll help you see what you’re missing, and where you’re veering off course. They’ll remind you to get enough protein at breakfast and to give yourself just 5 minutes to go outside and stretch your eyeballs.

In other words, they’ll save you, and your work too.

We don’t give other people enough credit in the creative process.

Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald were bailed out, shored up and prodded along through every one of their books by their agent, Maxwell Perkins.

JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis hung out together with a few other writers in Cambridge, calling their little group The Inklings. Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir called themselves The Mandarins.

There are writers circles in every city, and people in every corner of the world sending their work in snippets to their friends and mothers and teachers, looking for an animated response and the accompanying bump in energy to start with fresh enthusiasm the next day.

We all need it.

Every piece of work that has been fortified by the love and borrowed strength of our collaborators is far more than what we could produce alone.

So when you’re feeling tired or threadbare or really just not in the mood, call someone who cares about you and what you’re working on. Ask them to be your eyes and let them guide you along.

Your work will be better for it, you’ll come to the process renewed, and your day will be that much brighter for their input.