Have you ever thought about writing with a cowriter? Several years back, I was approached by an acquaintance about cowriting, and I jumped at the chance. Initially, it was a fun experience. Writing is such a solitary thing, and here, we could bounce ideas back and forth and simply enjoy the writing.
But then it turned into a major disaster and imploded — while we had a finished manuscript on full out to an agent. I was never more glad for a rejection!
Here’s are the lessons learned I came away with:
- The Good: It forced me to do the one thing I really needed to do: Shelf the old project and start on a new one. I’m not sure I would have if I hadn’t been motivated by cowriter to start a new book. And I finished the new book!
- The Bad: I agreed to it for the wrong reasons. I’d spent years struggling to get subplots into my story. I could see it needed them, but they didn’t evolve naturally for me (and still don’t. I can only get them on after a lot of revision). When cowriter approached me knowing my difficulties with subplots and saying he was strong in that area, I jumped at the opportunity.
- The Ugly: Because I figured my problem was solved by cowriting, I didn’t learn what I was doing wrong. Consequently, after we broke up I still had the same problems, and it was possible I’d made them worse! I’d gotten better as a writer in some areas, which helped to further mask the problem. It took several years of hard work — work I’d wished I done sooner — to understand what I was doing to cause the problems.
Would I do it again? No. One of the things I learned while I was working through the long-standing problems was that I’m probably not the best choice to work with someone else on a creative project. My muse often takes strange paths that would stretch the patience of anyone!
For you: Have you ever considered cowriting? If so, what’s your reasoning behind it? If you’re cowriting, what’s have been your experiences, good and bad? Post your comments below.