The Art of Collaboration

I started off today looking at my various to-do lists and wondering what the hell I should tackle, to make a dent in the suddenly dozens-or-so little tasks that are mostly unrelated but all need to be done. It’s one of those mind-spin moments where you almost feel like tackling nothing, because the gods know by the end of the day there will still be a ton of stuff on that list that’s going to have to wait until tomorrow, the next day, or Sometime That Might Never Happen.

Naturally, I got some things done anyway.

Part of this mind-spin came from the best of sources. Yesterday I spent the bulk of my day writing with two of my Can*Con and TEGG pals, Derek Kunsken and Nicole Lavigne. I went in with a clear plan of what I was going to accomplish with the 8 hours or so we had settled on, which was going to be a combination of TEGG writing/editing, editing a new short story of my own IP, preparing some reviews for Black Gate, and (time-permitting) do a little Can*Con prep. Instead, the three of us started our days focused on TEGG, and then never stopped.  There are a couple larger projects that we all have a hand in and we ended up throwing ideas back and forth, sketching out maps and then dividing up tasks, coming back together to spitball ideas, and then writing and combining our contributions on Dropbox. The end result was a ton of words written and edited, as well as the bunch of little things added to my to-do list (and theirs, to be fair). And while I can’t say much about those words, they have something to do with this from a couple weeks back:

Though I ended up not tackling 2/3 of the things I had planned that morning, we remarked afterwards that collaborating the way we did allowed us to get way more done than we would have alone. If we needed to spitball something or check that what we were doing fit the larger world we were writing in, we just asked instead of sending an email and waiting for a response. Ideas that we thought were cool became even cooler as we brainstormed over Derek’s kitchen table. If you’ve ever listened to TV writers discuss the dynamic of a writer’s room, that’s pretty much what we accomplished – and damn was it fun. More importantly, though, we did some solid creating that will shine when these projects are released.

The key now is to keep up that momentum, since I find myself working with multiple deadlines for the first time in my writing career. At the moment, that means dinner, followed by more tea, followed by some work, followed by sleep. Probably.

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