By: Marilyn L. Davis
Collaboration – It Just Makes Sense
“Early on in my professional career, I realized that you couldn’t develop all the competencies you need fast enough on your own. Furthermore, your ideas will be limited to your own abilities if you don’t collaborate. 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
Solitary Writing is Limited
Most bloggers share what’s important to them, how they view life, write about their area of expertise, and use a particular language. Their website evolves, but it’s still singular to their viewpoints. And that’s fine; after all, a personal blog is, well, personal. Although that may read redundant, it’s an important distinction as the writer stays focused on their niche, opinions, and perspectives.
Eventually, if the writing is sound, it 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 once every four days, depending on which internet writing expert we follow.
Alone I Can’t, Together, We Can
While I admire those writers who publish daily, a team effort was what Scott Biddulph and I envisioned for Two Drops of Ink sitting in the coffee shop all those years ago.
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 writing, editing, and publishing with the 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 exciting, engaging, and informative posts, and individually, we can’t do that daily.
When we looked at collaboration, it simply made sense. Plus, it satisfied our philosophy of providing a platform for new and seasoned writers. Click To Tweet
How Can You Find Writers to Collaborate?
Scott and I knew we could attract diversified writers, poets, and essayists by creating an award-winning site. 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.
If you’re writing a blog 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, Craig Stratton contacted me on LinkedIn and wanted to know 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 has written excellent posts 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. 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 gets you several surprising 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 stays focused on solid writing about any topic and then sharing those posts, even by others, collaborative writing works.
When there’s a collaborative effort, one person gets highlighted one day, and the next, it’s another member. Ultimately, it’s your site that gets exposure.
Visitors Benefit from Collaboration, Too
What invariably happens is that people are at the site and see another interesting title. Looking 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. So, our visitor got information from several perspectives and benefitted from collaboration, too.
Find Another Writer – Today
It’s not complicated. Some individuals share your opinions, interest you, or something they wrote resonated with you. 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 by 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, Frank McKinley, Traci Kenworth, and others.
Their posts did well. We gave them exposure and drove traffic to their websites listed in their bios or generated potential 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.
You Double the Rewards When You Collaborate
When readers know that you provide various viewpoints, they are more likely to visit your site. When you break down your statistics, you can see your audience by country, source, and other demographics and what they are reading. I often write about memoirs from various perspectives on the craft. But I’ve 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.
Make Room in Your Niche
We know what our readers like, and we make an effort to give them those kinds of posts, regardless of who wrote them. Should I get jealous of another writer who does well writing about memoirs? 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. Without collaboration, could we have:
- Gone to the moon?
- Made any headway on social injustices?
- Up to date information on COVID and its variants?
So, if people collaborate in science, social change, and medical issues, 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, 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
Collaborate with Us
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’ll get backlinks, exposure, and you know I’ll be appreciative of your efforts.
Bio: Marilyn L. Davis
She is the Editor-in-Chief at From Addict 2 Advocate and Two Drops of Ink. She is also the author of Finding North: A Journey from Addict to Advocate and Memories into Memoir: The Mindsets and Mechanics Workbook, available on Amazon, at Barnes and Noble, Indie Books, and Books A Million.
For editing services, contact her at email@example.com.
Two Drops of Ink: The Literary Home for Collaborative Writing