There Really Needs to be an “I” in Team

I must confess.  After re-reading my last post and its subsequent comments, I realize that I may have inadvertently led people to conclude the following:

  • I have morals
  • I’m a virgin
  • I’ve never had a one-night-stand

None of the above statements are true.  Kidding — I totally have morals!  Which is why I can’t deny the fact that I did indeed experience my own condensed version of the “slutty college years” before landing on my current set of conservative beliefs.  Granted, they were months and not years, as I spent most of undergrad in two separate long-term relationships… both of which involved frequent lovemaking.  I love getting naked; I just associate it with silly things like intimacy and feelings.

Anyone who is celibate for any reason — I totally respect you.  Anyone who gets around like a bicycle — I totally respect you as well (just don’t give me herpes).  I’m in no position to judge.

Ultimately, what I’m trying to say is that if you read my blog and you happen to be a 29-year-old, 6’1″ dark-haired ER doctor with lean muscle mass and a flawless bone structure — don’t think I won’t sleep with you.  Because I will.  I’ll just insist that we get married, buy a raised ranch, and adopt a Guatemalan baby afterwards… No big deal.

But enough about gay sex!

On the career front, I have a co-write session booked this Friday morning on Music Row with an awesome up-and-coming folksy-country artist originally from Indiana.

I’m hesitantly coming to terms with the necessity of co-writing.  Pretty much everything on the radio these days is co-written.  It’s why whenever Beyoncé has a new single out you can expect to hear 5-10 different writer/producers referring to it as solely theirs while the other 4-9 end up posting angry, misspelled tweets.  And so on.

Here’s the thing: I secretly hate working with others.

This is not to say that I’m some kind of disgruntled misanthrope… though that’s sometimes true.  I’m just obsessed with the perfection of any final product that has “by Nick” attached to it.  This applies to group work in school, where one of two things invariably ends up happening:

  1. I basically complete the entire project myself and pretend that allowing the other student(s) to take equal credit is no biggie.
  2. I give up control completely, detach myself from the final results, and allow others to do all the heavy lifting while I daydream about Josh Duhamel in his undies.

Needless to say, I’m obsessed with my GPA (not that it matters in grad school).  So unless my partners are more brilliant than me — I’m such a douche — I generally stick with option number one.

This approach is not viable when it comes to songwriting.  Reasons being:

  • The point of co-writing is to incorporate different backgrounds/styles, thereby creating something better than one could come up with alone.
  • If one person sat around not contributing it would totally kill the vibe in a “why are you even here?” kind of way.
  • If the song actually goes somewhere commercially, there’s money at stake.  When splitting royalties, it helps (for general being-able-to-sleep-at-night purposes) to know that all parties indeed contributed equally.

In 2009, famous choreographer Twyla Tharp wrote a book called The Collaborative Habit, in which she discusses how imperative it is to work well with others.  After unabashedly judging the crap out of her for writing the book alone (and then realizing that I was wrong and she had a contributor), I gave it a skim.  I quote:

Collaboration is how most of our ancestors used to work and live, before machines came along and fragmented society.

Am I supposed to feel like a bad human now?  Seriously, Twyla, get a Facebook!

                                                     Slightly Recommended

But for real, I understand that Rome wasn’t built by a single person.  (Yes, I modified that saying to suit my blogging needs.)  Granted, writing a song is different than building an empire.

Nevertheless, I do recognize that writing alone involves limitations.  I play piano, my co-writer plays guitar; this is an opportunity to get outside of my box.  I also recognize my need to get over myself and accept the idea that accomplishing something with someone else doesn’t make it any less of an accomplishment.  Thus, I’m looking forward to Friday morning.  It will be just my fifth co-write ever, and five is a great number for change.  A key change! Oh snap.

I will be going into that writing room armed with the following:

  • An open mind and willingness to collaborate
  • A few unfinished ideas that I have no strong emotional attachments to
  • A liter of Evian

The recipe for success, am I right?

Oh and one last thing — if you happen to be that above-mentioned ER doctor and you’re still reading, please don’t think that my issues with working together carry over into the bedroom.  I promise they don’t.  Call me!  (Though I might lead you on, back out at the last minute, and then melodramatically blog about it later.)


  1. Haha! Ah, your blog is my daily medicine. God knows I need that today. (I’ll blog about that.)

    But seriously, I hate team work too and yet I’m doing it all the time. I hate having to discuss every little thing with someone else with very different personalities and needs, some get hurt by every small word of critizism, etc. It’s frustrating, but the results gets better than I could ever hope they would alone. Just stay patient, think your co-writer brinhs out the best of you just like you bring out the best in your co-writer 😉

    • “It’s frustrating, but the results gets better than I could ever hope they would alone.” — That’s so what I needed to hear!

      Thanks so much for the awesome comment, and I look forward to reading a new post-birthday post!

  2. Your blog makes me laugh everytime I come here to read a post. You’ve got a great writing style.

    I not-so-secretly hate working with other people 🙂

  3. Thanks so much, Errign! I jokingly contemplated out loud the other day “I wonder if I’m the only one who finds my blog funny…”

    Glad that’s not the case!

  4. thunderjunk says:

    I fuckig hate working with people. And not even in a collaborative sense. I just hate most people. I’m still trying to find a well paying job that gives me bonuses for being a prick and fine tuning my sardonic gaze.

  5. Once again I’m left jealous reading your post. Being a song writer (along with novelist, journalist and other writing “-ist”) was always a fantasy of mine. It might not be paying the bills just yet but I can tell it will. As for co-writing…the concept seems strange to me. I would think writing a song is a personal experience where you pour your feelings out on paper. I suppose I’m a little naive though when it comes to the music business and it’s really just about coming up with a catchy hook. But then again, perhaps there’s true feeling hidden somewhere deep beneath the bubble gum…

    Anywho, I always get a kick out of reading your posts. They’re very honest; heavy but light; serious but funny. Can’t wait for the next one.

  6. *It might not be paying the bills for you yet, but I can tell it will…

    • You are absolutely right about the personal nature of writing a song. It should be that way, with the exception of great friends/etc who you just naturally vibe with. But, as you said, it’s just a big industry and all they care about is whether or not it has hit potential. It’s such a difficult balance.

      In any case — thanks so much for the props! Truly appreciated. I must say I always get a kick out of your (hilarious) posts as well, in a “I can’t believe he just unabashedly expressed what I’ve been secretly thinking for years” kind of way.

  7. LOVE that you alter famous sayings to work for your blog, currently hero worshipping you… be warned this usually is followed by stalking but that’s usually followed by boredom and then distracted by squirrel… so you’re totally safe 😀

  8. I suffer from the same problem. I don’t feel satisfied unless I’ve done the thing all by myself because I have more faith in myself than in anyone else. And well, if I fuck up, it will be my fuck up. I also go the other way with just settling down and letting others do the work especially if I don’t give 2 hoots about the project (or whatever). I also find meetings and committees a waste of time.

    At the same time, I have often got good results from just working with 1 or 2 other people (preferably like-mind).

    Good luck! And please keep writing. Do let us know how it turned out.

    • Agreed — like-mindedness is essential. Thanks for reading and the good luck, I’ll definitely be updating!

  9. I despised group work. Always tried to figure out a way that we could do it without ever having to meet. IT’s amazing I ever married at all considering my dislike of people. On the other hand, having a husband means I no longer have to suffer the endless line of tricks (do young people still use that word?) that I once did…

    • Lol — I must admit, I have come across the word “trick” more in my readings on gay culture rather than in everyday life. But I have come across it nonetheless!

      And regarding marriage, that’s what I want — a husband who I can hate other people with!

  10. The only thing I hate more than team work Is pretending to like it.

    • Haha – exactly! I’m beginning to think that everyone feels this way and the ones who disagree are simply lying.

  11. Ade John Leader says:

    I absolutely love your writing style. Shall be reading many more of your posts!

  12. I’m glad to hear the collaboration went well…. I usually despise working with others, but sometimes things will click. Hope it continues to go smoothly!

    • Thanks so much — I’m seriously loving how much “I also hate working with others” love this post has gotten!

  13. I’m extremely type A, so working with a group is like torture to me. Teamwork with a highly committed partner? that sometimes works, but groups usually boil down to me and me alone, staying up late banging out the tiny little details in my usual, anal, way.


  1. […] a closing note — for anyone who was left curious after reading my last post — Friday morning went sparklingly well!  My co-writer was incredible, and we really vibed.  […]

  2. […] a closing note — for anyone who was left curious after reading my last post — Friday morning went sparklingly well!  My co-writer was incredible, and we really vibed.  […]

  3. […] Perhaps he is representative of my true self.  Or the dreamboat ER doctor that I mentioned here, who’s still waiting for me to stumble into his […]

  4. […] Then I realized that I had unintentionally led my new found blog audience to believe that I was a virgin, so I felt the need to set that record straight and further clarify that I would totally sleep with an ER doctor if the opportunity presented itself. […]

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