Getting Started and Forming A Group
SO, you know you can write but have not had the time, the opportunity or the organisational skills to do something about it. In fact, you have come close to actually finishing something (the evidence is that pile of half-finished manuscripts under the bed.)
But somehow life just seems to have gotten in the way. And now you have that nagging feeling that any chance you may have had of testing your talents may be rapidly passing you by.
WHY GROUP WRITING IS A REAL OPPORTUNITY:
THIS is a great way to start to write if you are busy yet want to test the waters. The strength in group writing, as we define it and know it, is that it has an end game – to produce a completed manuscript that has been read and re-read, rewritten and re-worked and is ready to fall under a publisher’s gaze.
But be under no illusion – being a group writer is no hobby. There is to be no tinkering. If you are determined not to add to that box under the bed this time, read on.
FORMING A GROUP:
Before you even think of mentioning your idea at the top of your voice at the next office Christmas Party – think carefully.
Where to start? Friends are the obvious choice (it worked for us!). Chances are you will be like-minded, share the same sense of humour (crucial in our book) and trust each other. It will also be easier to break the ice at the start of your collaboration if you know each other well. (Plus you are also unlikely to be friends with those who will leave you with the washing up every time there is a meeting.)
But there is no point in recruiting on friendship alone. It’s crucial in a collaboration of this sort that everyone is passionate about the project. Group writing will require time, ability, imagination, organisation, commitment, confidence.
When considering who to join forces with ask: Do they love books and reading? Is writing something they have talked about pursuing? Are they interesting and are they interested in others? In stories? Gossip? The arts? Think about the people you know. Some seem obvious – your bestie who reads everything she can get her hands on; the book clubbers who all dabble in writing; the great story-teller who makes you laugh.
Others you might want to beware of: the woman who reads only Booker Prize winners; your highly-intelligent colleague who constantly puts others down; the dear friend who never remembers to spell your name correctly and is always late.
You don’t want to be forced to cope with someone who dominates the group and has power issues; nor do you want to be saddled with someone who struggles with basic literacy.
And no matter who ends up in a group, there will always be testing times when people will rub up against each other. But by then you should have the systems in place (a Code of Conduct; a resolution system; an authoring agreement) to help channel any sparks that erupt back into the creative process.
Over the next few blog posts, we discuss what genre to write, the group dynamic, how to find the perfect co-writers (and who to avoid) and ways to get going right now. Meanwhile, download a copy of our e-book here.