First, I want to say thank you. Yesterday, I launched my new book, a memoir where you choose what happens, and I shared why I think these kinds of collaborative books are going to be more popular in the future. So far, the response has been amazing. The Kickstarter reached thirty percent of its minimum the first day. While we still have a long way to go (I think we can raise $7,000, which will allow us to release a gorgeous hardcover edition), I’m humbled by your support.
Collaboration Is the Future
What this project has shown me is the power of collaboration, not just in funding and marketing art, but in actually creating it. Collaborative books like Goodbye Paris aren’t just an upcoming trend, for writers who want to stay on the cutting edge, I think they will be increasingly necessary.
We tend to idealize the “lone genius,” the writer who through their own talent and force of will creates something truly remarkable. Unfortunately, it’s becoming more clear to me that the lone genius is outdated.
More and more, lone geniuses are being replaced by teams of geniuses. This trend is true in film, television, songwriting, science, inventing, and even writing. Even today, many bestselling novelists, James Patterson for example, work with co-authors to write their books. (For more data about how creative teams are replacing individuals, check out this fascinating, if dense, article from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management professor Benjamin Jones.)
In two-hundred years, we may not be celebrating the Mark Twains and Charles Dickens of the twenty-first century but the J.J. Abrams, who produce stories with teams of other storytellers (for example, his most recent project is a novel written with author Doug Dorst).
Your Dream of Being a Writer
Your dream probably doesn’t look like working with a team of other writers.
My dream certainly didn’t. It didn’t look like getting a few dozen story ideas from readers, either (by the way, have you sent me yours yet?)
But what I’m realizing is that this collaboration is making for a better story, and while it might hurt my pride to admit I need your help, if collaboration makes for a better book, it will all be worth it.
We need to adjust our dreams. We need to make room for other storytellers in our process. Hard as it is, if we want to be successful, we need to admit we need help.
But if we can do that, we might just be able to create something remarkable, something which will be remembered.
Learn more about my collaborative project on the Kickstarter page.
This practice has two parts:
- First, create a writing prompt and post it in the comments. (Example: Mary begins a conversation after receiving a text message from a stranger with the wrong number.)
- Then, choose a prompt from the comments and write about it for fifteen minutes.
When you’re finished with your practice, post it in the comments section. And if you post, be sure to give feedback to other practitioners.