Why Authors Need to Collect Credits Through Collaborative Writing
Do you know that authors need to collect credits through collaborative writing to help nudge them toward success? Let’s be honest. Achieving such success—finishing that book, sending out proposals, landing a publisher—can prove daunting. It can feel overwhelming or out of reach.
I’m a collector.
There. I said it. Whether it is seashells that hold special meaning or unique stones I find and set in my garden, I enjoy collecting.
Unlike a seashell collection, every writer, particularly Christian writers, needs to collect credits for a broad even beautiful purpose. The ultimate aim of collecting credits is two-fold—to birth a message and send it out and to bring glory to Him responsible for giving the gift of writing in the first place. Isn’t that true? As writers of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and prose, we strive to be authentic, gain credibility in the literary world, and point readers to Christ.
However, we can become discouraged with so much emphasis on producing a best-selling novel or work of nonfiction.
Perhaps the Lord hasn’t yet called you to write a book, or maybe you have a work-in-progress, but need other projects to turn to when writer’s block threatens to leave you feeling stuck.
Have you considered searching for collaborative projects into which to pour your creative energy? The opportunities are numerous and quite easy to find.
Take Chicken Soup for the Soul as an example. A quick Google search leads inquiring minds to a list of opportunities. This popular, collaborative series keeps a running list of topics about which one can write.
Another wonderful tool is the Christian Writers Market Guide. Both online and in print are updated regularly. Within its pages, one finds many opportunities for collaborative writing.
Authors should also consider joining a Christian writers’ critique group or attending Christian writers’ conferences. There we can make further connections which might lead to future writing opportunities.
Indeed, though even if you haven’t published a book, or even begun, you can still gain an audience—thus, adding authenticity and credibility to your byline by participating in collaborative projects.
And what are some benefits of collaborative writing? Here are several—
Experience the joy of publication
“It’s kind of like ‘always a bridesmaid, never a bride,’” I said and laughed with a writer friend. “I’ve collaborated on many projects, but my novel still isn’t ready to see the light of day.”
Though I haven’t published a novel, being published in collaboratives brings joy and adds credibility to my byline. If you have a byline, then you are an author. Who doesn’t experience a sense of pleasure upon receiving the news that your article was selected, your devotional will be included, or your written words have been accepted and are being sent out beyond your laptop and journal?
As Christian writers, we desire to be published. While that shouldn’t be our number one goal, when God calls us to hone our craft it’s natural to want our message out in the world where it will make a difference for His kingdom.
Whether traditional, self-publishing, hybrid, or collaborative, publication is the avenue our words travel to reach a broader audience.
Be part of a family.
“Did you hear that, Prancer? Your story’s going to publication,” I said to my Golden Retriever.
My pooch wagged her tail with pleasure as my heart soared. I’d become part of a “found family” because of my devotion about my hound.
Perhaps dogs aren’t your thing. Maybe your thing is adoption, or you or someone you know has had a near-death experience. Whatever you want to write about, there is ample opportunity. All collaborative projects fall under a niche theme which you might be an expert in.
Whether your specialty is writing about God’s presence in unique ways or simply about cats, contributors have the opportunity to weigh in a wide variety of topics. By doing so, they naturally gain fellowship with other writers who have something to say. Their varying expertise becomes a common thread which binds them together.
Though these writers may never meet face to face, there could be Zoom meetings, online launch parties, social media groups, or group emails where folks celebrate with one another, pray for one another, and have the opportunity to encourage each other in the writing journey.
Collaborative projects are a great way to grow a writing family. And who knows? You just might bump into that fellow collaborator at a Christian writers’ conference or at a dog park half a world away!
Grow through following submission guidelines.
“Let’s play UNO!” my 13-year-old daughter exclaimed, dropping a deck of cards on our dining table.
While I’d enjoyed this popular game on many occasions, it had been a long time. “I don’t remember how,” I said. I assumed she’d put the cards away and move on to Slap Jack or, better yet, Old Maid. After all, I didn’t have to read the directions for those.
“Mom, ask Siri or just Google UNO’s instructions,” my determine daughter said. Within minutes, we were playing—by the rules!
While I’d not suggest using Siri to find out submission guidelines, rules need to be followed when it comes to submitting collaborative work. Nearly every call for submission has its own set of rules and following them precisely will increase one’s chances of being considered.
Furthermore, we only get one opportunity to make a good first impression. Even if permitted to edit and resubmit (which does happen sometimes), publishers remember more than we might think.
Making a manuscript shine, whether 300 words or 3000 words, begins with following submission guidelines. Doing so increases the likelihood that you might win publication.
Share your story.
While in college at Asbury University, my class, the Messengers, had a theme hymn. Ours was H. Ernest Nicole’s “We’ve a Story to Tell to the Nations.”
While I loved to write way back then, my passion was teaching. I graduated with a degree in Early Elementary Education. I had no idea that God was already writing a story with my life. Despite the difficult times I’d experienced and would experience, I was a living testimony.
One doesn’t have to be a novelist to be deemed a storyteller. Whether collaborating in fiction or nonfiction, our stories work themselves into our poetry and prose. Sometimes those nuggets of truth, even in fiction, pop up and surprise us.
“Well, hello!” we exclaim before asking, “What are you doing here?”
Because God guides our words, we can trust in his plan. After completed the manuscript or article, we can see God’s purpose for our work even if it is a painful process. Yes, sometimes more beautiful because of pain.
Remember—there’s a nation—indeed, a world—waiting for our words. There is a purpose for the collaborative stories God’s writing with our lives.
Collaborative writing, whether for magazines or compilation projects, is a beautiful way to get your message out. Prayerfully consider where to submit, then give it all you’ve got.
You have nothing to lose and you’ll learn a lot along the way. Mostly, God just might use you to speak to another’s heart and give the message he or she needs to hear.
So, what are you waiting for? There are credits to collect for God’s glory!
About the Author
Maureen Miller writes for her local newspaper and a number of online devotional sites. An avid collaborator, she’s still waiting for her debut novel to see the light of day. Oh, and she loves dogs and has written about them and other topics at www.penningpansies.com. Mostly, she loves Jesus!
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