“If it’d been a snake, it would have bit you.”

My mother and grandmother were quick to point this out whenever one of us kids missed something completely obvious. I trundled it out yesterday when talking to Carolyn, who was having trouble starting a humorous essay.

“It’s hilarious in an email,” she said. “Unfortunately, when I start a more formal piece, it turns to crap. Any tips?”

I felt both my elders’ influence, but I didn’t say it. Instead, I just said what seemed the most obvious: “Why don’t you just write it in an email to me, then?”

This is why I love working with a team. We help each other in the most excellent ways. Sure, we’re always around to take an interview if there’s a scheduling conflict or help out with research. We share sources and ideas readily. And there’s our own internal revising and editing process which always involves at least one other writer helping you develop your piece. But we often end up helping each other in these little ways that have big impact.

There’s a lot of truth in the idea that writing is a solitary game. But here at The Word Factory, we like to make it more of a team effort – like a relay in swimming. Sure, there’s a Michael Phelps for every project, but getting that gold medal requires a good effort from his teammates. Here’s how we manage it: Five Tips for Better Team Writing and We’re All In This Together.

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Want your team to get better at writing together? We’ve turned our approach into a workshop that helps teams of writers develop their own rules, roles and processes. Contact me if you’d like to learn more.