The Joys of Collaboration

COLLABORATE

A few weeks back, I told you about how working  with my brother-in-law and husband for two weeks of intense creative collaboration, putting together the framework for a transmedia storytelling project.

It was, in short, an awesome experience. Imagine working with a small group of people who are all excited about the same project, but all come into it with different professional backgrounds, different skillsets, and different ways of thinking. We’ve probably all heard about this sort of energized working environment, but usually in the context of startup companies.

Can writers create this type of idea-sparking meeting of the minds?

Apparently, yes. We can. Because those two weeks–although exhausting and demanding–were two of the best weeks of my life. They make me yearn to work with this sort of team on a more regular basis!

The only other place I’ve seen this sort of creative synergy is within my critique group, but never during the actual critique process. Instead, it seems to sneak in when two or three or four members start to brainstorm about how a story might play out differently, or what tidbit of backstory could bump a character’s motivation from blah to powerful.

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On Working With a Writing Coach

Have you ever felt stuck in your writing career?

Like you’re doing the right things and still getting nowhere? Writing, blogging, going to conferences, submitting manuscripts, building an online platform…After a while, it’s easy to start feeling like a dog chasing its own tail! You spin round and round…


Taro the Shiba Inu1
…getting absolutely nowhere.

Looking Back

Kendra_headshot2013That’s where I was about two and a half years ago, when I started working with writing coach Kendra Levin.

Recently, I…graduated? Or whatever it’s called when your coach/mentor becomes a friend/fellow creative traveler. And since I began my coaching season by blogging about the experience, sharing some of my insights along the way, and interviewing writing/life coaches, it seems fitting to share the wrap-up as well.

The Beginning

I started working with Kendra because I was having a tough time finding balance between the demands of my personal life and my passion to create. I was having trouble holding onto creativity in the face of the unavoidable rejections writers face.

I was trying very, very hard to do things RIGHT (whatever that means) that I had no idea what I actually needed or wanted.
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Off Balance – My Year’s Most Inspiring Read

The Year’s Most Inspiring Read

Off_Balance I’m listening to the audiobook version of Matthew Kelly’s Off Balance: Getting Beyond the Work-Life Balance Myth to Personal and Professional Satisfaction, and it’s probably the most inspiring title I’ve read (or listened to) so far this year.

Why? Because the author doesn’t just talk about how you can change your life, pursue your dreams, blah, blah, blah. He actually did it…and he changed his life in a way that makes sense to me. He talks about changing his whole life, taking into account both the personal and professional, which he says are integrally intertwined.

I like the idea of running away to a Caribbean island as much as the next gal, but the truth is that I’m probably not ever going to decide the benefits of island living outweigh the costs. In fact, I don’t even think changing addresses is worth the cost, at least not for the next few years–even though I’m a country girl at heart and have never felt quite settled in our suburban environment.

But, like Kelly, I’ve identified my priorities, and family is one of the top items on the list. So as long as it’s best for my family to stay where we are, here we’ll stay.

I’ve also identified creative writing as a top priority…and that one is easier to let slide. Kelly’s book gave me “mental ammunition” in my daily battle to prioritize my writing time.

The Balance Myth

Having examined the issue extensively, I have come to the conclusion that people don’t really need or want balance. As an idea, balance sounds desirable, but…if you delve a little further and get people talking about what that balance looks like, you will discover that what they want has very little to do with balance. – Matthew Kelly, Off Balance

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Why NaNoWriMo?

What Insane Person Tries to Write 50K Words in 30 Days?

One who wants to improve their ability to create!

This quick video explains why NaNoWriMo is worth doing and what you’ll gain from the experience.

This is for you if

  • You’ve never heard of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and want to know more
  • Your friend / classmate / significant other is participating in NaNoWriMo and you think they’re crazy
  • YOU are participating in NaNoWriMo…and you’re wondering if YOU are crazy
  • You know you thought this book-in-a-month thing was a good idea, but you can’t seem to remember why
  • You just need a good excuse to procrastinate because you don’t want to write :)

If you enjoy, please share!

This is also available as a Prezi (below) if you prefer to go through it without the narration.