Olivia CasualI have always found that in the creative field, it is always worth your time to collaborate. This could be collaborating with others in your own medium, but I found there is something especially enchanting about exchanging ideas with somebody in a medium vastly different from your own.

I have my writing group, which I can not explain my appreciation enough to do them justice. Having an environment to sit down, delve into characters and share thoughts about writing techniques, or even swapping combat stories is invaluable. Not sure I’d say I’ve reached a new level because of them, but they’d support me if I wanted to make the jump.

Recently, I’ve been collaborating with an artist, a former student from my school. I thought, it’d be fun to talk about my characters, what inspired them and even more juicy, who inspired them. For me, it’s helpful just having a reference and at times, helps inspire me.

Cordelia Jones took my quick character write-ups and began literally giving my words shape. I have fifteen characters in my first book, far more than I had originally thought. Some survive the apocalypse, others find themselves falling just short. She took these brief descriptions and with just a rough concept of the book put her pencil to paper.

She’s mean and sends me teasers. But at the same time, each email I get a bit excited to see what might be happening on her end of the project. The sketches have been awesome, and the best part of them, they are absolutely nothing like what I thought they would be. She got the commission because she’s a talented artist with her own ability to think, analyze and interpret. I wiped my hands and said, “No directions, this is yours.” Her thought process is making me excited to get back into the writing and start reading with a fresh set of eyes. It’s provided much-needed motivation.

If given the chance, find other creatives to be around. Celebrate creativity in its many forms. You’ll find that it helps refuel your mind and when you find other people excited about expressing themselves, you go back to your work with a new charge. For me, I’m excited again and now I have work to accomplish…