One of the worst pitfalls in a collaboration is a misunderstanding between participants, so always and immediately, whenever confused, ask for a clarification of something that seems off or hurtful. I prefer face to face communication over emails or texts, as so much context and subtlety gets lost, I believe, in electronic communication. But others might feel more comfortable communicating through email. Know your partner and their preferences. Do your best to honor them.
Every time you open your mouth, try to put yourself in your partner’s shoes. How would it feel to hear the words you’re saying? Is your collaborator going through personal stuff that might be making them seem less amenable today? Don’t be afraid to toggle back and forth between work mode and human mode. It’s better for the process and better for the people.
3.Do your homework
Depending upon the collaboration and the desires of the collaborators, a percentage of the work will get done together and a percentage of it will be done at home alone. Both are equally important. If one person slacks off on their homework assignment, the project will suffer.
4.Choose the right setting
Location, location, location, they say in real estate, and the same can be said for an artistic endeavor. Where you work — the noise level, the quality of the light, the comfort level of the surroundings — can have a profound affect on both the tenor of the work and on the final product itself. Not that good work can’t come out of bad places or vice versa, but if you’re going to be working someplace every day with the same person or people, it might as well be pleasant.
You will make mistakes. You will make lots of mistakes. In fact, it’s often only when you stumble over the mistaken paths of your project that you will figure out how best to proceed.
6.Praise others if you like what they're doing
Do you like something your partner did, said, made, or wrote? Tell them! Effusively! “I love what you did here” or “Wow, that’s so cool” is such a wonderful thing to hear and yet so infrequently proffered. Everyone wants to feel appreciated, heard, and seen. Everyone wants to know that their efforts have not gone unnoticed.
No one gets it perfectly right the first time. In fact, perfectionism is probably the biggest barrier to getting the first flaw-riddled draft out into the world. In solo writing, revision is writing. The initial efforts are just the laying down tracks. So, too, with collaborative projects. Toss those mounds of spaghetti on the wall. See what sticks. The real work actually begins when you start moving the remaining noodles around.
8.Remember the xenolith
A xenolith — “foreign rock” in Greek — is a rock fragment foreign to the igneous rock in which it is embedded. In other words, it becomes subsumed by the other rock during the latter’s hardening from a magma state. A good collaboration, in its magma state, will swallow up beautiful fragments from each of its participants and embed them within the whole.
9.Don't tolerate yelling
Yelling, acting out, tantrums, or verbal abuse of any sort have no place within the boundaries of a collaboration. If yelling occurs, call it out immediately. Remind your partners of the rules of engagement: zero tolerance for combative, aggressive, monkey-poo-throwing behavior.