Browsing the archives for the collaboration tag.
Subscribe via RSS or e-mail      

Useful Resource:


I heard recently from Debra Exner, who does coaching and training work about effectiveness and collaboration, and thought I’d take a look at her Web site, I immediately found some very useful material, for instance in a new series of posts on the site called “Get Things Done: 4 Ways to Collaborate for Accountability,” which includes strategies like “Get-It-Done Days” for organizational work, during which participants check in with each other every hour to report progress and state goals for the coming our; and “Mastermind Groups” of individuals who get together to talk about their individual goals, their progress, and their concerns so that the whole group can provide accountability and brainstorming.

If you’re interested in organization, collaboration, productivity, or creativity, I’d recommend taking a look at the site and perhaps subscribing to posts by e-mail to let Debra and site co-author Maddie Hunter provide some useful ideas.

No Comments

Seeking Regular Contributors for The Willpower Engine

About the site

Lately I’ve been thinking how much fun it would be to enrich this site with material from one or two like-minded people who have useful information to share. If you’re interested in expanding your audience and especially in connecting with people who share your passion for improving their lives and mental resources, or if you know someone like that, please get in touch through the contact form to the right or through e-mail.

I’m mainly interested in potential contributors who have a specific focus that has to do with willpower, motivation, self-organization, or related self-improvement. That focus could any of a number of things, such as fitness, organization, writing, happiness, communication, relationships, decluttering, family dynamics, psychology, neurology, and so on. I’d love to have someone who would do a regular feature interviewing people (regular people or high-profile people) on subjects related to willpower.

To be a good fit, a contributor should be writing based on good scientific research, established practice, personal experience, interviews, or some other solid source of information; philosophical reflections (other than from professional philosophers) or off-the-cuff opinion pieces aren’t a good fit for the site.

There’s no pay (sorry!), but you can console yourself that I don’t make a cent from this site either. At the moment The Willpower Engine gets more than 800 views a week, so I can promise that you’d get good exposure to a new audience. Cross-posting to The Willpower Engine and your own site is fine. Posting would need to be on a regular schedule, but it could be anything from every other week to twice a week, depending on your preferences. Your bio and other information (bibliography, Web site links, etc.) would be on a new Contributors page.

By the way, I’m also open to writing posts for other sites in a similar arrangement or as a guest.

Any takers? Any suggestions for people who might be interested? Or are there just subjects you would love to see covered regularly? Get in touch, or add a comment. Thanks for your help!

Photo by Pete Lambert

No Comments

A Method for Collaboration

On Codex, we’re having a Collaboration Contest, where writers team up in pairs to work on short stories. We’ve had a variety of contests, and they tend to teach us new things and force us to crank out sometimes very good writing.I’ve been appealing to a friend offline to join me as a collaborator in this contest, and she mentioned that she hadn’t done a collaboration before and was curious how it might work. I’ve collaborated in what for me has been a very satisfying way with fellow Writers of the Future winner Steve Bein, and have a method to suggest. What I’m about to describe is only one way to collaborate, and it assumes that the writers will be participating on an equal basis and are in the collaboration to learn and produce a really good story rather than for other ends. Here’s my informal writeup of the method I proposed to my friend for the contest.

  1. We fire e-mails back and forth, brainstorming ideas for the story
  2. One of the ideas catches our interest and we start brainstorming other elements. Maybe the first idea we came up with was a character in a situation, so then we might brainstorm other characters, other events, etc.
  3. Sooner or later we get to a point where one of us is itching to start the story. This might be very early on, when we barely have the basic idea for the story in our sights, or it might be much further on: we might even work out a complete outline for the story when we start writing.
  4. Whoever is the one who got inspired to start writing first writes to a certain point–anything from a paragraph or two to half the story or even a bit more–and then passes it back to the other person to continue. We continue to discuss the story through e-mail or even by phone as we go.
  5. We continue writing chunks of the story, not necessarily of the same size each time, alternating until it’s finished. (The chunks don’t even have to be written in order, although it’s easier to do it that way.)
  6. When we have a completed first draft, one of us does the first round of editing. If one person did more of the original writing, the other should be the one to do the first round of editing. During editing, we discuss any major changes before making them, but other than that we’re ruthless and edit the stories almost as though they were our own. We don’t hesitate to strike out a beautiful phrase or change a character or what have you even if the other person has done the original work. However, we do this using Word’s “track changes” feature, which is very easy to use, so that if something needs to be restored it can be.
  7. The person who didn’t edit the first round edits it the second round, using the same approach.
  8. If necessary, we continue alternating, editing the story all the way through and passing it back to the other person, until both people are happy with the story.
  9. When it’s time to market the story, one person is elected to be the marketer and keeps track of markets. Both people must agree for the story to go to a specific market. If the story is sold, the money is split 50/50 regardless of word count contributed. Any further direct use of the story (expansion into a novel, reprint sales, etc.) is done only with the agreement of both writers. Both writers are free to write derivative works from the piece (e.g., stories in the same world).
If the collaboration is a novel collaboration, a written collaboration agreement is written up and signed between the parties before work goes far on the book. I have one of these to view as a sample.So that’s one approach to collaboration. Another is that one person will come up with an outline or synopsis and the other will write the story; either or both could do the editing afterward. Another is that one person offers a story to the other that is “broken” and the other rewrites it into a strong, working story (thanks for that idea, Ruth Nestvold!). Another is that one person just begins writing, then passes the story to the other to continue in any way they please at a given point. Yet another is that the writers take responsibilities for certain elements, for instance each taking certain characters or certain kinds of scenes (fight scenes, dialog-heavy scenes, etc.). And there are other approaches.

One important element of a collaboration is mutual respect. Even if the collaboration is between a major, successful writer and an unknown, each has to respect the other’s skills and intentions for the thing to work. Lack of respect or trust is likely to make a collaboration fail.

If you’ve tried collaboration, I’d be interested to hear about your experiences in comments, below.

Added later: By the way, we won the contest.

No Comments

%d bloggers like this: