There’s something about being a writer that doesn’t conform to social norms. Namely, that in order for us to do our jobs, we have to be completely alone. No writer writes, listens, and talks concurrently.

Over the years, I’ve worked in plenty of places where this doesn’t sit well. As a result, I’ve been labeled a recluse or renegade, despite crafting effective messages that mobilize audiences to act favorably. For some of us, this idea of isolation seamlessly spills over into our regular life.

I like being alone. It’s not a renegade thing. It’s where I feel most comfortable. This doesn’t mean that I don’t like other people. I do. In small doses. But spending my waking hours in the company of others is not a very productive exercise for me. I need time to think and write. Apart from others.

In this video with Sir John Hegarty, he talks about the idea of collaboration in creative development. I’ve never heard it explained so well. I encourage you spend 23 minutes to watch the whole video, but in case you can’t, here are a few highlights:

“Nobody has ever said, ‘This is a great idea that came out of a brainstorm.’”

“There are two types of creativity. There’s pure creativity and applied creativity.” (Collaboration occurs during applied creativity.)

“If you want to do ‘good’ go to brainstorm. If you want to do ‘great,’ leave the brainstorm and come up with an idea.”

“The danger in collaboration is that it leads to consensus. And consensus leads to normality.”

“The point of a brand is difference.”

So much truth here. I feel vindicated.

– jm