There are four possible roles to play in a creative process, each with its own degree of responsibility for the project:

"Don't cross the streams ... it would be bad."

cross the lines at your own peril

Three Circles & a Bunch of Plebes

  1. Creator — it’s your project, your baby, your way or the highway.
  2. Collaborator — you have been invited to give ongoing input into the project, you may feel ownership over a particular part of the project, but on the whole it’s not your baby, your more like an aunt/an uncle/a grandparent who’s there to help nurture but ultimately isn’t responsible for the child.
  3. Helper — you have been given exactly one task to help move the project forward, you may be given another, and another, but there’s a big difference between helper and collaborator and you do not have the power to promote yourself, the Creator does that based on your performance/behavior.
  4. Everybody Else — you can blog/complain/critique/review/interject all you want, but this is the wide open country of “a cat may look at a king” and nothing more, so you have zero power because you aren’t even in a circle.

Only the Creator of a project decides who goes where in their project’s Circle of Trust. And, if you’re not the Creator, you can be promoted/demoted at any time and in any way, by degrees or by total protonic reversal.

So before you give your advice —  one “Creator” to another  —  remember where you stand from their perspective.


Also published on Medium.


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