Can’t stand writing alone anymore? Decided to collaborate with other writers on a TV pilot, film script, or book? Or did you receive an assignment from your boss to write with your co-workers?
Forget about why you’re writing with others. Now it’s time to figure out how you’re going to get it done—without all the bickering and failure. Follow this seven-step guide so that you stay sane while writing with others.
Step 1: Establish a Team Goal
What is it the team is trying to achieve? Is everyone game? If not, discuss the issues. Remember that your team is writing with others because everyone wants to write something that each of you can’t write alone. Create a mission statement for your writing project and post it if necessary.
Step 2: Agree on a Writing Workspace
Establish commitment to the project by creating a writing workspace that’s ideal for all writers in the group. Does the group prefer to write at the library, café, or someone’s apartment? Is the space safe to share writing ideas with others? Determine your writing workspace early on as well as a writing schedule that works for everyone. Stick to the plan.
Step 3: Determine Everyone’s Role
Let everyone decide how to contribute to the writing project. What are each writer’s strengths? Choosing your own tasks means wanting to contribute to the project. For the unpleasant roles, assign them on a rotating schedule.
Step 4: Create a Communication System
What is the best way for the team to contact each other? Choose a method and be consistent. Don’t be invasive in contacting a team member when you’re not writing with the others.
When your team is writing together, make sure to document these key points:
- What happens at each meeting
- What issues arise and if/how they were handled
- Writing accomplishments
Step 5: Learn How to Receive Criticism
It’s bound to happen when writing with others—someone on your team disagrees with your writing choice. Whether expressed nicely or rudely, choose to react not based on feelings attached to the work but on objective reason. Listen to what the writer says, decide if the advice is worth applying, and take action in the writing. This shows your team member that you value what they say, even if you disagree.
Step 6: Aim for Agreement
Disagreements happen. If there’s an issue, bring it up, discuss it, and move forward with a resolution that gets all heads nodding. Keep the group dynamic positive and productive if you want to keep writing with others.
Step 7: Celebrate Achievements
Finish a chapter? Cranked out that tough scene? Celebrate! Reward yourselves for reaching milestones in your writing so that the team wants to make accomplishments. Team morale stays high by bonding outside the team’s writing.
Everyone has a role in the team to play, including you. What can you do to keep the writing environment creative, safe, and productive? Are you staying positive when writing with the others? Don’t try to do every task to get the writing done—you’re only avoiding a growing problem. Now take a deep breath and get some writing done!