The Importance of Collaboration
by Steph Beth Nickel
There are many expressions of collaboration among creatives, in particular, among writers.
Below are just three of the possibilities:
Coauthoring a Book
I am currently working on a collaboration with Paralympian Deb Willows to complete her second memoir. This past week, I spent four days with Deb at her home in Northern Ontario. It’s so much easier to focus on a single task when I set aside other responsibilities and distractions, which I tend to focus on when I’m working from home. And while we have tried to connect regularly online, it just isn’t the same.
Deb and I came up with an initial table of contents and went from there. Sometimes, she simply shares the stories she would like to include, I flesh them out, and then we polish them together. At other times, I create a list of questions based on a topic we agreed to include, she answers them, and we proceed with the fleshing out and polishing process.
It’s an incredible honour to be entrusted with another person’s story and to help them bring it to the page.
Of course, memoir is only one type of book writers work on together. And the writing process varies from one team to another, but a two-person partnership working on a single project is what people often think of when they think of collaborative writing.
Attending a Virtual or In-Person Conference, Summit, or Workshop
Most of us likely would not consider this a form of collaboration, but I’ve come to see it differently.
This month I purchased the All-Access Pass to the Write Anyway Summit. While I can listen to the sessions anytime I choose, I decided to attend some of the Live sessions and, over the course of the week, listen to those that were prerecorded so that I wouldn’t neglect them indefinitely. (I don’t have a clue how many courses and All-Access Passes I’ve purchased only to tuck away for Someday, which we all know rarely comes.)
While I love the dynamics of an in-person conference, interacting with other writers online as a conference or summit is going on is a form of collaboration. We’re learning from one another as well as the presenters. And, in many cases, there may be an opportunity to meet a likeminded writer and form a collaborative partnership that could last long after the event is over.
Becoming Part of a Team
Whether we’re collaborating on a novel, a collection of short fiction, a nonfiction anthology on a single topic, or a magazine, being part of a team is one of the most rewarding—and one of the most challenging opportunities—we may ever participate in.
Different personalities. Different approaches to the writing. Different perspectives on the fluidity of deadlines. These are just a handful of the challenges we may face.
But when we successfully navigate these challenges and produce a product all collaborators can be proud of, it’s one of the most amazing things ever.
I’m thankful for every collaboration I’ve been part of—and look forward to future collaborations with my fellow creatives.
Can you think of any other examples of writing collaborations? What successful collaborations have you been part of? What did you enjoy most? Did you have to overcome any personal struggles to fulfill your obligations? We’d love to hear all about it.
Steph Beth Nickel is a freelance editor and writer and an author. If you would like more information about her services, you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You’re invited to visit her website: http://stephbethnickeleditor.com/.
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