Monday, November 21, 2011
6 Steps to Building a Strong Team for your Writing Career
As the authors of our work, we are the leaders of our team. We are the ones who have to make the final decisions on where we want our stories to go. For this reason we need a strong team around us to help us make the right decisions.
Steps for building a cohesive team:
1. Don't be a loner. While the process of writing is a solitary one, this doesn't mean we should isolate ourselves. It's better for our writing (and our mental health) to join writing communities, to seek encouragement and support from like-minded people. This will help us find the best matches when seeking critique partners and editors.
2. Do your research. If you pick for your team the first person who shows an interest in your work, without doing the research to find out whether or not you'd work well together, then you may not find the best match. It's worth spending the time to find the people who have a similar vision for your work.
3. Nurture the relationships. Every relationship benefits from open communication and nurturing. The better you know your teammates, the more able you'll be to understand where their suggestions are coming from.
4. Trust your team. You've done your research, found a good team and got to know them well. Now it's time to trust them. This team of people want excellence for your stories. Trust they will offer their best opinions and experience to improve those stories.
5. Trust yourself. While trusting your teams is important, it's just as important to trust yourself. Sometimes you may get so many editorial changes that you'll be in danger of losing your voice to the tune of another. Sometimes you may need to make a stand.
6. Be professional at all times. No one likes a foot-stamper and pouting went out years ago with Mae West. If you don't agree with certain changes, then come up with valid reasons why you think those changes shouldn't be implemented. Understand that professionalism includes flexibility so you'll also need to learn to pick your battles.
Can you think of other steps towards building a strong team around you? Which steps do you find the hardest and which are the easiest?