In the past, when people asked Angie and me about how we collaborated, we used to share the metaphor of going through the jungle with a machete. We’d plan our destination and then Angie would lead and hack our way through the foliage. I’d follow behind and clean up the path. Then at the halfway point, we’d switch places, and I’d chop and she’d catch my mistakes. We’d used this strategy for our last four books.
But the way we do things—and the metaphor—has recently changed.
Lately, we’ve been meeting at 7:30 in the morning and discussing the book for 15 minutes. We plan the journey ahead, ask important questions, and answer whatever we can. So far, it’s been a success.
Now we are no longer separated on the journey. Now, we are in the car together heading towards our destination.
Right now, Angie is in the driver’s seat and I’m a passenger and mostly navigating. When we are in the car together, we sometimes talk about the road ahead and sometimes we just talk about our lives. But mostly, I remind her about the road we planned to take and then sleep while she drives the car.
Eventually, we’ll switch spots. At the halfway point, I’ll jump behind the wheel and she can take her much-needed rest.
The nicest part about this process is that, although we know the plan, it allows us to decide if we want to take any interesting detours that catch our attention. (This is a lot better than our previous strategy of one of us taking a detour and the other person finding out a long time afterward!)
I don’t know how long this process will last—if it will make it to the end of the book or carry over to our next one—but for now, I’m enjoying the ride.
Everyone’s about New Year Resolutions. I’m not. But I sure am into checking tasks off lists. I have 21 things I try to do every single day. That may sound daunting, but some of it is pretty basic, like remembering to take my vitamins, do my core workout or have the right amount of water, or avoid sugar. I’m currently struggling with that last one the most.
An item that is new to my list is meeting with David every weekday morning.
Confession: I am NOT a morning person. At all. But this new meeting time is FANTASTIC. And I’m not exaggerating for the sake of storytelling. I truly love it.
It gets me out of bed, ready with a cup of coffee and our writing, pretty much before anything else in the day has happened. This gives me a clear head for thoughts to flow.
This time also gives me the entire rest of the day to ponder storylines and scenes.
I don’t get tired like when we had one or two-hour meetings once a week because these are short bursts anywhere from 15 to 25 minutes.
I stay focused for the same reason—short focused meetings—usually with only a thing or two to discuss.
If I have a story problem while I’m working, I don’t have to wait a week to meet. I just go to sleep and wake up and BOOM! We’re meeting again.
It’s fairly guilt-free because if I have nothing to report, it’s all good. I’ll see David the next day.
I’m not sure if this is a faster way for us to write, but it certainly feels like it. And there’s accountability and consistency that makes me feel so productive.
David used the metaphor that we are on a road trip, and the destination is a finished story. I love that metaphor and, to be honest, it also feels better having him on the journey simultaneously. We were together with the old way we did things, but not quite like this.
So, while I toss the map to my co-pilot (for now) and wait for him to give me a few instructions between pit stops, I have to say that this road trip is going swell so far!