We Collaborate Because We Are Collaborations; We Co-write Because We Were Co-written

If you’re like me, collaborating with others on a song or other work of art can feel counterintuitive, and sometimes debilitating. It can add extra weight to the already uphill battle of creation. Not far below the surface of my discomfort with co-writing though, I think my creation would be best-served if only I, the planter of the seed, watered and nourished it to maturity. I know I’m wrong in this, but how? Doesn’t it make sense at least to a certain degree?
Here’s why I can’t come to terms with that way of thinking, as much as my ego tries. We collaborate because we are collaborations. We are co-writers because we ourselves have been co-written. Both in our personalities and in the very way we human beings began, we are collaborations.

First off, our personalities are a conglomeration of our favorite things about others. Day in and day out, we’re writing the song of who we are by collaborating with our friends, family, and favorite music and film stars. Taking what we like about them, and rejecting what we dislike. As Jim Rohn says, “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” That should make us double check who we are inviting to help design ourselves. Choose the right people. Spend overindulgent time with Jesus. Seeing our personality as a collaborative effort reveals our interdependence. It’s not hard to co-write. We can’t help but co-write. Collaboration happens whether we want it to or not. That’s the good news, but the hard work still remains of being willing to let other people into our headspace where we let others shape us. We always want to be seen as totally autonomous and unaffected by the world around us, and co-writing forces us to deny that.

Also, if the perfect God allowed collaboration to be implemented when he created us, the magnum opus of his own image, then we, his rendered image, should crave collaboration like oxygen. We can’t help but embrace collaboration if we were made in the image of a collaborating God. In Genesis 1:26, God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…” In John 1:3, he said, “All things were made through [Jesus], and without him was not anything made that was made.” Romans 11:36 says, “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” It’s clear that our heavenly Father shared not only the act of creating us with his Son, but even happily shares the glory received for the creation. If God wanted our creations to be primarily individualistic and isolated, why would he waste time carefully modeling collaboration in his creation of us?

The Bible speaks into co-writing a lot more than we might think. God gave us a detailed example in the way he created us. We should strive to honestly represent him by reflecting his collaborative creativity. Choose the right people, as the Father did. Share the pen, the permission, and the glory of your songs, the same way everything was created for, through, and to Jesus. We should make art through other trusted artists regularly, in the same way that the Father shared every bit of his creative work through Jesus. Let’s revel with joy in each others’ creativity, as God did when he called creation “very good”.

In an attempt to make this blog post itself collaborative, what are some ways you have shaped the way you create based on the way God creates?

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Caleb Price says:

    Wes, my brotha. You’ve taught me a ton about co-writing / collaborating. I think the lesson that stands out the most is in trusting that art created in community with people you know, love and respect is of greater worth than the self glory or the way it’s playing out in my head. I think i saw that very tangibly when you produced my EP. There were and will always be certain parts that I have in my head that I don’t want to change, but having to trust you, your experience and skillz, to know that the end product will be so much better than I could’ve taken it on my own. There is beauty and honestly better art in the midst of collaboration. Love reading these blogs. Keep writing!

    1. wesardis says:

      Thanks for your kindness and trust, my man! I’ve definitely learned a lot more about collaboration since we did that EP, and wish I’d handled certain things with more finesse and acceptance. I loved how you just kept bringing ideas and never let ego get in the way of writing a great song! Miss you dude!

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