Could writing be a team sport?

August 26, 2008 at 5:46 am 4 comments

Writing is a solitary activity. What we do is between us and the paper (aka the screen) and nothing must come between the transfer of ideas from mind to fingers. When we (writers) ask for feedback, we seek affirmation and criticism – from editors, focus groups, our pets, lovers, the cashier at the grocery store who sees us every other day, the halpless friend who rang up just to have a coffee! And when we can’t write, we’ll talk about it… or space out at inopportune moments like at the dinner party your partner dragged you to so you wouldn’t turn into a blob of flesh melded to your chair. Silly woman, the demon of creativity will be out!

Anyway, the idea for this post came from watching the Os.

More than a third of the 35 sports at this year’s Olympics were team events, with a further nine or ten having a team component. Some sports are naturally team based, but others have created groupings that extend the sport.

Bringing this idea into the writing arena, I ask why don’t we see more author teams? It’s reasonable that some people do better in team environments* – the support, rapport and sociability is instantaneous – but is it possible for writers to collaborate and do so consistently book after book?**  Or is writing an activity best suited for independent personalities only?

I’m sure there are couples who partner on books and have created a successful entity on that, but such pairings are uncommon, and even more unusual when you take away from the list couples who are romantically involved with each other. To go further, if we do do pairings, why not have more than two writers?

Should we encourage team-ups by, say, having awards for collaborations, such as Best Duo or Group in Crime Writing?

All this is to say, if you’re a writer who doesn’t seem to be going it well on your own, perhaps its time to consider prospective partnerships.

* not referring to writing groups where writers support each other’s individual efforts.

** excluding collections of stories, essays and academic writing.


Entry filed under: On writing. Tags: , .

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Renee  |  August 26, 2008 at 9:52 pm

    Greetings, Evecho!
    I know your blog will be most interesting.
    I especially enjoyed the tea post and will look for that blend.
    I think you need a furry pet. Your tropical fish are very beautiful but they’re too slippery and wet to hug.

  • 2. evecho  |  August 27, 2008 at 12:47 am

    Hullo Renee

    Lovely to see you. You know me and food, I’m like obsessed. As for furry pets, your beautiful Bernese is the best, but she only has eyes for you.

  • 3. karina  |  August 28, 2008 at 5:48 am

    I like the idea. Especially the “Duo Awards” and any professional encouragement that fosters collaboration between writers. But (yeah, but) just now a number of logistic and personal barriers come to my mind. I stopped working in film because having to be constantly around people and under a lot of pressure to produce creative stuff was pretty taxing. I was physically, emotionally and intellectually exhausted most of the time. I like writing because it is solitary, though I do sometimes wish I could rely on a partner to take the story and run with it when I stumble or decide to delete the entire 50,000 word file because I’m desperate and don’t know what to do with it anymore. I’m willing to try (almost) everything at least once. And I do see a lot of potential in this.

    Thanks for visiting my blog. 🙂 I’m bookmarking yours now.

  • 4. evecho  |  August 28, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    The first thing would be finding a writing partner you could work with. The chances of that are well on nil, unless you’re one of the lucky ones. Supposing you do, the next step would be negotiating the writing process till you find one that works best. I’d love to hear from writers who’ve managed this, because, like you, all I see are mountains in the way.

    I really liked the vid you did for KE. It stayed with me the whole day.


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Evecho’s newsy bits

News, updates and links from the lesbian and publishing ‘verse that interest me, my current projects, keeping up with authors and sharing musings on middle-class life, gourmet adventures and comparisons between East/West perspectives. My opinions will likely be linearly logical and gayly bent, as they tend to be.