Earlier this week, I shared some of the joys of collaborating with other creative types…but I think I missed something. It’s all well and good to talk about why collaboration is great for the creative process, but if you’re a writer–probably working solo from your home office–what does collaboration actually look like?
The Many Faces of Collaboration
I’m not expert on the collaboration front. I haven’t co-authored a book with anyone, for instance–the stereotypical form of writerly collaboration. However, I’ve found that kicking around ideas with other readers, writers, and daydreamers is a great way to improve my fiction writing.
It got me thinking: Where have I benefited from working with others on a project? What opportunities for collaboration have I stumbled upon, and what collaborative possibilities have other writers harnessed that I haven’t yet tried?
Here’s what I came up with, listed from least (“Level 1”) to most interactive (“Level 4”). Feel free to suggest more possibilities and examples in the comments!
Level 1: Soliciting Feedback
This is a great starting point for the novice collaborator: sign up for a conference critique, find a writing mentor, or join a critique group to solicit others’ views on your plot, story world, characters, etc. This is a great way to experiment with what it feels like to work with others on a creative project.
Some things to keep in mind:
- When giving or receiving feedback, be sure to bring an open, non-judgmental mindset to the process
- But also remember–you’re the owner of your project, so don’t let others squash your vision
These days, though, critiques from other writers aren’t the only form of feedback you can seek. You can also connect with “regular” readers. Share your writing on platforms such as Wattpad, FictionPress.net, or even your own blog or website–not for a critique, but to get a sense of what is and isn’t working in your stories.