By: Marilyn L. Davis
Collaboration – It Just Makes Sense
“Early on in my professional career, I realized that you can’t develop all the competencies you need fast enough on your own. Furthermore, if you don’t collaborate, your ideas will be limited to your own abilities. As a result, you will not be able to serve your clientele and thus can’t achieve the anticipated impact.” ― Vishwas Chavan, Vishwasutras: Universal Principles for Living: Inspired by Real-Life Experiences
When It’s Solitary Writing
Most bloggers share what’s important to them, how they view life, write about their area of expertise, and use language that is particular to them. Their website evolves, but it’s still singular to their viewpoints. And that’s fine, after all, a personal blog is, well, personal. The writer has the option to write about whatever they like, and not necessarily worry about reader’s opinions on the topic.
Eventually, if the writing is sound, they will attract an audience. Granted, that’s not always the case, but for the most part, writers tell their truth as they see it and that’s what a reader gets – that singular writer’s truth.
However, I hear from too many other bloggers on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter that they know they’ve published a piece that they didn’t think was stellar. Most of the time, publishing like this is simply to satisfy the idea that each of us should produce a minimum of three posts per week, or two a day, or one every four days, depending on which internet writing expert you follow.
While I admire many of the writers mentioned in the post, I question whether or not, a team effort isn’t a better idea for us at Two Drops of Ink.
Alone I Can’t, Together, We Can
Most of the writers on Two Drops of Ink have other jobs. And while we may take our writing posts seriously, we have to divide our time between posts and jobs that pay our bills.
Those separate responsibilities often create conflict. We feel torn because each of us has a responsibility to our readers to give them interesting, engaging, and informative posts, and individually, we can’t do that daily.
By creating an award-winning site, we knew we could attract diversified writers, poets, and essayists. We’re glad many of them have become Monthly Contributors, to expose their writing, but on a self-serving note, it takes the pressure off me to produce.
When we collaborate with guest contributors, everybody wins. I know that reads cliché, but it sums up our philosophy.
How Can You Find Writers to Collaborate?
If you’re writing a blog by yourself, do you sometimes wish you had other competent writers helping you?
My question then is what’s stopping you from asking others to do a guest post?
Have you thought about asking another blogger in your field about a post exchange? About three years ago, I was approached by Craig Stratton on Linkedin. He asked me how I started my other blog, From Addict 2 Advocate. He was thinking about starting a blog and wanted some advice.
I asked him if he wanted to dive into the deep end of the pond or get his feet wet first. He understood my southern analogy and started writing guest posts for the site. Now, he writes for my blog and has started his own, C.W. Stratton.
We support each other’s efforts and don’t feel competitive. We’re both genuinely excited to let people know that recovery is possible and writing from our different perspectives means that we will reach diverse populations who can relate to one of us more than the other.
Some people think it’s risky to promote other writers and jealously guard against any mention of other people. What a shame. Promoting other writers gains you benefits, too.
Support, Encourage and Promote One Another
The reality is that when everyone is making an effort to produce quality posts, no one feels embarrassed to promote one another.
When a writer isn’t concerned about who the messenger is but is focused on solid writing about any topic, collaborative writing works.
What invariably happens is that people are at the site and may be attracted by another title. If you look at WordPress statistics, you can see where you had “X” number of visitors. You can also see how many views you had that day. When your views exceed visitors, that means that people read more than one post.
Some days, I don’t have a new post, but every day I have views. I’m grateful that one of my co-writers initially drew the readers to the site that day, but that one of my titles caught the reader’s attention, and that something I wrote attracted them as well.
Find Another Writer – Today
It’s not complicated. Some individuals share your opinions, interest you, or you admire. Reach out to them. You have nothing to lose in this gesture. Find Facebook or LinkedIn groups that you’re interested in, and create a call to action for others in the group to submit a guest post. You might be surprised at the positive response.
From Facebook and LinkedIn groups that I belong to, Two Drops of Ink benefited by publishing posts from Noelle Sterne, Peter B. Giblett, Michelle Gunnin, Christine Tabaka, Shahnaz Radjy, Anwer Ghani, Christopher Fox, Alex Wolfe, Whitney McKendree Moore, and others.
Their posts did well. We gave them exposure and drove traffic to their websites listed in their bios or generated the potential for sales of their books.
We, in turn, offered our readers yet another perspective on writing and in many cases, it would not have been a viewpoint that Scott I had thought of, so it was educational for us as well. Click To Tweet
You Double the Rewards When You Collaborate
When readers know that they will be exposed to various viewpoints, they are more likely to visit a site. When you break down your statistics, you can see where your audience comes from and what they are reading. I often write about memoirs, from various perspectives on the craft. But I’ve also created a couple of memoir pieces as well.
All of those posts do well. We thought about our readers liking these and decided to create a call to action specific to memoir to entice other writers to submit. The responses were outstanding – and our readers thought so too, judging by the number of views.
Probably in gambling terms, this is doubling down, knowing that a particular topic garners hits, we then maximized on the efforts by creating an opportunity for others to write about the topic. Click To Tweet
We know what our readers like, and we make an effort to give them those kinds of posts, regardless of who wrote it.
Make Room in Your Niche
Should I get jealous of another writer who does well writing about memoir? Only if I’m foolish, and I try not to be that. If you’re afraid that someone will write a “better” post than you did about your topic, consider this:
“A knotty puzzle may hold a scientist up for a century, when it may be that a colleague has the solution already and is not even aware of the puzzle that it might solve.” ― Isaac Asimov, The Robots of Dawn
Where Would We Be without Collaboration?
Think about these for a minute:
- Would we be visitors to the moon without collaboration?
- Would we learn new truths without collaboration?
- Could we change any social injustice without collaboration?
Most certainly not, so if people collaborate in science, education, and social change, it works at Two Drops of Ink.
In the spirit of collaboration, I’ll extend it to another perspective on the topic:
“I’m a proponent of collaboration. It’s not because working together feels good. If it felt good and the results were mediocre, then collaboration wouldn’t be worth the effort. Collaboration is valuable because it helps us transcend our individual limits and create something greater than ourselves.” ― Bob Sullo
Still uncertain about the benefits of dividing the writing or a guest post?
Then think about sending us a submission and see what kind of traffic you get to your site, your books, or on social media. You know I’ll be appreciative of your efforts.
Two Drops of Ink: The Literary Home for Collaborative Writing