Co-writing and Cubicles

Co-writing a book is a bit like taking on a new roommate; varied personalities with different ideas, different methods of squeezing the toothpaste of inspiration out onto the paper.

Recently, I’ve entered into two projects that could be considered creative cooperation(s). One project involves six authors (and that number may grow) and the second project involves three authors. I’ve discovered from both of these endeavors that I seem to be the anal-retentive roomie, the one that wants to clear up details from the get go. The ‘Sheldon Cooper,’ if you will, wanting a contract up front and center detailing a publication timeline, royalty agreements and hierarchy of contributors.

But I seem to be a grounded bird among free-spirited authors that desire nothing more than to write and go with the flow. Which is a wonderful thing and I wish I could be more like that- squeezing the minty gel from the middle instead of rolling it carefully from the end.
Then comes the actual writing process involved in co-authoring, when I want to focus on specifics and everyone else is looking for a broad theme, a willow-wisp of information to set their creative juices flowing.

Maybe I’m not as open as other authors; maybe my mind isn’t a fount of continually flowing ideas that are battling mental walls to get out and see daylight. Maybe, like some non-creative persons, I need a box, a structure, a cubicle to give myself the outline of what might happen. Is this really who I am as an author? Somewhere along the line, did I lose my hair-down, peasant-skirt-wearing, dance-in-the-middle of-a-room-without-music inner goddess of inspiration?

That would be sad, wouldn’t it?

But then I find, when I’m writing for myself, without submission guidelines, co-authors and deadlines, I get her back. I find within this woman a bit of the journaling girl I was.

And maybe these anthology projects- with all their fantastic, talented contributors- were just the medicine I needed to see that I had to find a balance- a balance between the structure-loving-Sheldon and the waitress-with-dreams girl next door. I certainly have more in common with Penny when I think about it, never having enough money, dreaming about becoming an actress, preferring sitcoms to documentaries.

So, here’s a huge ‘thank you’ to all the authors working with me, for dealing with my neurotic personality, for inviting me to write stories with you. It may not be a cake walk all the time, we may not always agree on concepts, but we adore each other anyway.

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