Tag Archives: teamwork

The Importance of Collaboration (Guest Post)

Colourful figures arranging the letters "T E A M"
Image by Alexa from Pixabay

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.

Photo credit: Jaime Mellor Photography

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 stephbethnickelediting@gmail.com.

You’re invited to visit her website: http://stephbethnickeleditor.com/.

You can join her Editing Tips Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/418423519384351.

Review: Silent Shadows, by Natalie Walters

Silent Shadows, by Natalie Walters (Revell, 2020)

A single mother hiding from a gang. Her young son. And a military intelligence officer discharged with an unexplained movement disorder that causes seizure-like muscle contractions.

Pecca Gallegos loves her job as a nurse at the Home for Heroes. Her son, Maceo, is unhappy at school. And Captain Colton Crawford, her newest patient, may be what they both need—if he can see beyond his limitations.

Maceo has a prosthetic leg and what seems like an impossible dream to play football. Helping him may be what Colten needs to help himself.

My personal preference is for an understated romantic thread, so I found Pecca and Colton’s swoony thoughts about one another a little much in the first half. That said, their first true date was definitely an “aww” moment.

And there’s a lot to like in this story. I appreciated the clean suspense and the frank wrestling with the tension between faith and painful circumstances. I also enjoyed the camaraderie among the “D-Wing” patients. Team dynamics, belonging, and purpose play an important part in the book, along with faith and second chances.

Favourite lines:

You look at yourself as less than. Is that the message you want your life to reflect? [Kindle location 3755]

“…Allow yourself to believe that even though this isn’t how you planned your life, it doesn’t mean it’s not exactly where you need to be.” [Kindle location 3761]

Silent Shadows is book 3 in the Harbored Secrets romantic suspense series. I haven’t read the previous books, but had no trouble settling into this one. Books 1 and 2 are set in the same town of Walton, Georgia, but feature different characters.

Natalie Walters’s author bio says that she “comes from a long line of military and law enforcement veterans and is passionate about supporting them through volunteer work, races, and writing stories that affirm no one is defined by their past.” For more about the author and her books, visit nataliewalterswriter.com.

[Review copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley.]

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Our Part in the Whole

Some of us like teamwork, and others prefer to work alone. As an introvert – and a writer – I’m used to solitary efforts. Even there, it’s good to know I’m connected to friends and co-labourers. We need one another, for support, encouragement, and perspective.

Volunteers painting a concrete barricade wall in Saint John, NB, May 2015

I took this photo when my husband and I were in Saint John, NB, in May. These volunteers worked together to repaint the city’s Marigolds Mural and turn it back into a feast of colours for locals and tourists to enjoy.

Nobody’d want to do the whole thing, but together 150+ volunteers did it in a day. I don’t think any of them were professional artists. It doesn’t matter. They saw a need, and they met it. (You can read CBC’s coverage here: Marigold mural revived in Saint John.)

Here’s more of the wall:

Volunteers painting a concrete barricade wall in Saint John, NB, May 2015

What could you or I do, that may not seem like much but could be part of a greater whole? Little contributions add up.