Writing And Missing Teamwork

The last few days I’ve been thinking about teamwork. As in, not having it.

These thoughts started a couple weeks ago as I finished my six-article series on things to figure out before you shift to writing full time. The feeling that I was overlooking an issue of my own kept nagging me.

Yet as I reviewed my articles it seemed like I’d covered everything major.

Fun With Podcasting

The feeling that I was missing something came to me most when I listened to podcasts. I felt envious.

For a while I thought it was because I wanted to start a podcast. I even had an idea for one.

Writing about women protagonists matters to me, and it bugs me that so many movies relegate women to little more than walk on roles. Also that women are usually shown in isolation from other women, interacting only with men.

But when I looked seriously at what was involved in producing a podcast, my enthusiasm waned. Already I have more on my plate than I want. I’m looking to scale back so I can focus on finishing novels and non-fiction books faster and spend more time figuring out what marketing and advertising is effective.

So I kept my idea but turned it into a blog series Women, Men, and Movies on my author website.

Doing that killed two birds with one stone. I enjoy what I’m writing about, and it gives me a built in, consistent topic every week for the author site.

Yet I still felt envious of the podcasters.

Too Much Time Alone?

I also thought it might be about spending too much time alone.

As I wrote about in 6 Things To Figure Out Before You Start Writing Full Time (Part 2 – Mental and Emotional Health), having enough contact with people impacts emotional well-being. But I feel like I’ve done all right with that.

I’m teaching two legal writing classes this semester, so I see students 2-3 times a week and have a faculty meeting every other week. I make a point to get together with friends often, and my brother just visited for a weekend.

Most days I’m pretty happy with my balance of hanging out with people versus quiet, peaceful solitude. So that didn’t seem to be the issue.

Working Together

As I listened to Jim and Bryan bounce ideas off one another on the Sell More Books Show, it finally came together. It’s not that I spend too much time alone, it’s that I miss working with people.

As a lawyer, while I wrote and researched alone, overall I worked as part of a larger team. We talked through arguments with each other. We called to analyze the ramifications of a new decision by an appellate court. We traded our written briefs back and forth and commented on them. We had strategy meetings.

Now, though, almost all my work is on my own.

No one else weighs in when I decide where to advertise a book or whether to rewrite my manuscript another time before sending it to a first reader. And there’s no one to go out for a drink or coffee with and talk about the day’s or week’s progress. (Or lack of it, which is when you need the wine.)

My friends will listen (more or less) if I talk about my writing or the business side of it, but those who aren’t writers don’t feel they understand what I’m doing well enough to comment.

And those who are writers can empathize but we don’t actually work together.

What To Do

It’s not that I couldn’t work with another writer.

Some authors cowrite books or articles. But that’s never appealed to me. I appreciate outside feedback from a seasoned editor or critic once at a certain point in the process, but I love writing my books and don’t want to share that task with anyone else.

And while I’d love to have someone to share the business decisions with, my writing income contributes something toward my bills, but it doesn’t support me yet. So there’s not enough for a partner or an employee.

But I’ve only just become aware that I miss teamwork, so I don’t expect to know what to do about it yet.

It might be getting my writing career in better order and more focused so I can add volunteer work or a board position where I’d work with others.

Or it might be finding a way to grow a writing-related business so that it eventually requires a team. Maybe six months from now I’ll know. Or a year.

If you write and miss teamwork, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. Opinions, solutions, questions, concerns, what have you.

Until next time, when I’ll talk about rewriting your novel

L.M. Lilly

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