Writing Collaboratively

Sunday 5 October 2014 by

Writing Collaboratively, Creative writing, Pexels

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Writing can be a lonely endeavour. Largely, it involves sitting in front of a computer screen and putting virtual pen to virtual paper. Internet, social media and just about everything else are distractions that prevent those words from leaving your brain and materialising on the page.

But it doesn’t have to be – working collaboratively with others can be a great way to keep your motivation in the long weeks of bashing out your first draft, and also a fantastic opportunity to pool expertise, gain fresh insight on plot tangles and push your ideas to new levels.

Collaborative working can encompass a number of things. It might be that you simply work concurrently on different projects, becoming each other’s sounding boards or cheerleaders. It might be that you’re working together on a shared project, alternating who writes what and planning everything together. You could be a partnership, or an entire writing group working towards a shared goal of draft completion, or even publication.

Whatever your preferred method, there are a number of ways collaborative working can be used to your benefit.

Moral Support

Perhaps the hardest part of writing is keeping going when it’s tough. Without anyone else to push you over those hurdles, it can be easy to just give up. But get someone else invested in the story and suddenly you’ve got someone on your case, waiting for the next chapter, wanting to know what happens next. This can be invaluable to keep you motivated, and it’s lovely to have someone interested in what you’re doing – it helps you overcome that niggling fear that you are writing something only you and your mother will ever want to read.

Writing Sprints

To get you through those difficult spots, why not set up a bit of competition. Arrange a time to meet – virtually or in real life – and spend some time doing writing sprints. Nothing makes you get words down faster than the sound of someone else’s fingers setting their keyboard on fire. If they can do it, you can, right?

Play to Each Other’s Strengths

If one of you has a real eye for plot holes, another for grammar errors, and another character inconsistencies – well, that’s a lot of expertise to share around. Chances are, the thing that each person is good at is the thing they enjoy most as well. So get the grammar enthusiast to do line edits while the big picture person thinks plot arcs, instead of trying to wade through the mire alone. What they can teach you will make you a better writer. And there will be something you can offer them in return – even if you can’t think of anything now, other people will quickly be able to identify what you’re good at. Helping other people is a great way to consolidate your skills and become even stronger in that area.

An Understanding Ear

In the lonely world of writing, having allies who understand your challenges and struggles can be just as invaluable as having their expertise and skills. Having a good moan to someone who understands can help clear the fog of writer’s block and get you moving. No one quite knows what you’re going through unless they’ve been there, and writers have all been there. Share and laugh about it and feel better – and probably make your writing buddies feel better too.

You can follow Loralei on Twitter: @LAHaylock

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