Why write with a cowriter? Well, to be honest, I wanted to write with a cowriter because I was tired of myself. Writing is solitary by nature, and as introverted as I was, I was tired of my entire writing world consisting of just my own mind. That’s the main reason I reached out to start collaborating, but here is my take on the reasons Elizabeth shared in yesterday’s post, and the reasons I kept going.
When you’re working with the right person, collaboration is addictive. You start getting ideas, and then feel that they’d be stronger with their spin on them. Elizabeth was right in saying that I approached cowriting with a wall up, just because like I said before, my entire writing world was just in my mind, and letting someone into that was risky at best. That’s why I employed my risk and run life philosophy. To my surprise, Eliza was the perfect person to write with. We have this twin mind connection that I don’t think I could replace if I tried.
Letting someone into your writing world is a definite risk, it’s handing them your heart and letting them throw it around like a football. But if they don’t drop it? You’ll be counting down the minutes until you can pry your ribs open and share the burden of your heart with someone else.
I can’t count how many times I’ve been meaning to write and I’ve ended up taking a nap instead. I rarely do that when Eliza is depending on me. There’s a certain kind of motivation that comes with cowriting that’s invaluable. If you’re on your own, somehow your self-imposed deadlines don’t feel like they matter as much. I hear it from classmates in my MFA program all the time. They started the program to force themselves to write on deadlines. I was already used to that process, because I’d been cowriting with Eliza for over a year when I started. She says I’m the organized one, a title I am equally surprised by and appreciative of. The practice I’ve gotten in structure through cowriting with Eliza have allowed me to succeed in my formal writing program, and finish my novel. No matter what I have going on, I’m always up to write. I wouldn’t be that way if I hadn’t spent a summer of late nights finishing a fandom-saving story with Eliza.
Confidence is not my area of expertise. It probably never will be. That being said, the confidence it requires to share your ideas when they’re in their rawest, least polished form is great practice for writing and publishing. My first workshop in my MFA program, I was a shaky mess the entire week. Everytime I wanted to lose myself to panic, I had the same thought. Eliza likes it, it can’t be that bad. Nearly every story I posted for workshop during my entire program, she gave her stamp of approval on. From the biggest ideas to the most stupid, Eliza’s been there for every one. Every emotional breakdown I’ve had during the process of writing my first book. Every weird flash fiction piece I’ve written that doesn’t make any sense.
Beyond that, she’s been there for everything that’s happened in my life for the past three years. I can’t promise that cowriting will lead to this one-of-a-kind friendship you’ll never find with anyone else, like it did for me, but if you can push yourself through the risk and the vulnerability, it just might be worth it.