Collaborating on research: the value of multiple perspectives

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Two or three researchers can do better than one. Here’s how to take advantage of that. For the purposes of this post, I’m talking about Web research that informs writing, whether that’s an article, a book, a white paper, or an internal document. Even if you’re doing actual primary research, such a survey or interviews, … Continued

The unwritten rules of collaborative courtesy

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Collaboration on writing is hard enough. It can work only when there is a shared understanding of process and assumptions. Some rules and conventions regarding writing collaboration seem obvious to me — so obvious that I never mention them, because an experienced writer would find it insulting. Then a perfectly well-meaning collaborator will break such … Continued

Don’t let version confusion destroy your writing process

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The most fundamental principle in writing is actually . . . version control? It’s an unwritten rule. Like changing your underwear every day. And if you violate it, you are a barbarian. This is the least sexy writing advice ever. But if you and your collaborators don’t share a common understanding of version control, you’re … Continued

Writing a book with Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Drive

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I’ve been working on a collaborative book project with two other authors. On this project, I’m the principal writer; they are my clients. Here are a few things I learned about the superiority of Google Docs and Google Sheets for collaborative authoring. Using Google Drive for shared access to research My collaborators and I work … Continued

Collaborating on a book is a terrible idea. But if you must, be asymmetrical.

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Writing a book is hard enough. Adding another person makes it twice as hard. Collaboration only makes sense if it’s asymmetrical — if you have complementary skills and different jobs. I’ve written three books with coauthors, edited a few more, and am currently ghostwriting parts of books with other authors. Coauthoring sounds like it’s going … Continued

A simple Google Sheets hack for project planning

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If you’re working on a simple project with a small team, there’s no quicker way to keep track of everything than to use Google Sheets. All you need is a tiny bit of discipline. There are scores of sophisticated tools for project management. Or, you could link your to-dos lists together, provided your team all … Continued

7 collaboration tools and tips that make book writing go smoothly

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Collaborating on a book is hard. Deadlines make it harder. The key is to develop a disciplined process and stick with it. To help you get to the end without tears, I’ll share some battle-tested collaboration tools and tips that will keep you focused on content excellence, not process glitches. (You’ll see where the bear … Continued