I was recently offered the opportunity to collaborate with multi published romance author, Beth Good, on a Christmas novella.
You’d think I would have jumped at the chance, right?
Well I did do a happy dance but when it was over I sat down and my insecurities kicked in.
- Was I good enough?
- Could I commit to a project like that as I don’t exactly have a track record for being very productive.
- Could I see it through to the end?
- Would I be able to get enthusiastic about someone else’s story?
- What if my writing was so awful or my interpretation of the brief was so bad that the author had to ‘sack’ me or chose not to use my contribution?
- Could I even write romcom/ light hearted contemporary romance? I’m not exactly known for my rollicking sense of humour.
I was very conscious of how lucky I was to be offered the opportunity and so I decided that I’d be stupid to let fear, and my own long list of insecurities, hold me back. I committed to the project and dived in.
I never once thought that there could be other benefits to working with an experienced author outside of the obvious one of having my name associated with hers. But there were. Strangely enough, the biggest gift I got from the collaboration was an increase in my self-worth and confidence as a writer.
The fact that another author, one I respect for her work ethic, professionalism and talent, was prepared to take a risk on me was a massive initial boost. More quietly, yet no less effective, the fact that I met my commitment and actually enjoyed the challenge also contributed to increased self-belief.
On top of all that I learnt a lot about planning and editing. This sort of knowledge is like the proverbial hen’s teeth. Very rare, especially when you’re still unpublished. I’m currently absorbing the knowledge and going back over it to squeeze even more learning from it.
It doesn’t stop there. Working to a deadline meant I learnt that I didn’t have time to heartache and double guess each word or plot twist. It showed me the truth behind the theory that being disciplined, and writing even when you don’t feel like it, brings its own reward. Inspiration did flow when I started writing, making me far more productive than before, when I used to have to be ‘in the mood’ prior to putting fingers to keyboard.
Sometimes, when I look at how much I’ve learnt from the experience I feel as though maybe I should have paid for the privilege. Sshhh! Don’t tell Beth I said that. 😊
Now that it’s all done and dusted, I am super pleased that I dived in and went for it and I’m hoping that I can take that learning curve and use it to boomerang my own productivity and writing into better places but most importantly, I think…I hope, that I have a new friend in Beth.