Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Collaboration is key
Social networking in its varied forms opens doors for writers to work together and not just with other writers. If you've watched Inside the Actors Studio, you may recall the part of the show where James Lipton asks the actor, "If you weren't an actor, what profession would you most like to take up?" A similar concept applies in collaborative writing.

Even with a social component, writing can still be solitary work. Here are reasons to broaden your horizon:
  • Credits: You can add writing credits to your roster.
  • Experience: You can broaden and deepen the experience you already have, and gain new experiences, too.
  • Networking: You can expand and enhance your professional contacts, especially if you work with someone well-recognized in the field.
  • Skills: You can hone yours by working with someone who has expertise you don't yet possess.
  • Perspective: There's nothing like a fresh perspective from a different set of eyes and mind like opening a window in a closed room.
  • Friendships: Not only can you expand your contact base, but you can also make friends, not just with other writers, but with other creative types actors, playwrights, directors, poets, musicians.
Of course, there are pitfalls to collaboration:
  • Discord: Disagreement is inevitable; the key is how each of you handles it. It's helpful to work with someone who won't step over you to get ahead. To work through differing viewpoints, you can set parameters for a point-counterpoint perspective, then switch positions.
  • Uneven workload: It's important to find someone with a similar or complimentary work ethic.
  • Unscrupulous behavior: It never hurts to treat a collaborative effort as a business venture, even if there's no money involved, but especially if there is. If you're unfamiliar with the person you're planning to work with, get some references upfront to make sure you're working with a reputable colleague.
Tip: In addition to the usual methods of communication email, IM, file transfers you may want to use mediums like Skype and Free Conference. They're free and allow you to work more closely with your colleague without compromising the project on a very public site like Facebook.

Over to You: What project have you always wanted to work on with someone else?

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