Sunday, February 20, 2011
Writing is often a very individual endeavor. But sometimes collaborative writing can bring a wealth of inspiration, experience, knowledge and support.
I always loved writing and have written a certain amount of articles, ideas and started my share of novels. Then there was a period of time when either life was getting in the way of writing – too much work, no energy, too tired – or any number of fears and inhibitions.
It was the decision to work on writing a novel as collaboration with a dear friend that pushed me out of the slump. First we had a few meetings to hash out our story. Then we started meeting once a week, after our karate trainings. We would go to the same diner every time, our favorite one (which closed down since then to our disappointment) and work on our novel while devouring the food to satisfy our ravaging appetites after a good workout. Suddenly, I had very real deadlines to keep to. We would divide up the chapters and work on them during the week, then bring them to our meetings. At times, we would reach a point where we had to hash things out further, work on developing the characters or outline the next chapters. The brainstorming of ideas was almost always gratifying, not once sending us into fits of laughter that would alleviate the frustration and aggravation of being stuck any day.
This was a really big push in my life for my writing aspirations. I now had more of a purpose and less of that gnawing fear that what I would write would not be good. A fear that I’m sure many writers have felt.
The collaboration have also taught me new techniques, new ways of writing. Our writing, while distinct and individual, also meshed well together. When going through revisions, it helped to have two sets of eyes for both of our chapters.
But above all that, however, this collaboration helped me to move forward with my individual writing, to set my own goals and deadlines more consistently and to keep to them more strictly.
We were already very dear friends when we started this collaboration project but one more benefit from it was the strengthening of our friendship.
Have you ever collaborated on your writing with anyone? What lessons did you learn from it? Would you do it again? If you haven't, would you consider doing one?