Dylan Tweney
Storylines

A short course on collaborative writing

Twelve practical steps to make you and your team into better collaborative content creators.
Dylan Tweney 3 min read
Photo of glasses and a pen resting on a blank notebook, with a Macbook behind them
Photo by Trent Erwin / Unsplash
Photo of glasses and a pen resting on a blank notebook, with a Macbook behind them
Photo by Trent Erwin / Unsplash

Throughout my career as a journalist and communications strategist, I’ve helped write and edit thousands of news stories and blog posts, hundreds of bylines, scores of speeches and presentation talk tracks, dozens of research reports, and many, many other types of content. I’ve contributed to half a dozen print books as an author or editor, helped launch about a dozen publications and blogs, and participated in half a dozen website redesigns.

In short, I've learned a lot about collaborative writing.

Over the past few months, I've been distilling those lessons into a practical guide.

The 12 posts linked below now comprise a short course in collaborative writing, also known as team writing. These posts give a fairly complete overview of what you need to know in order to be a more effective and collaborative writer and editor.

There's lots of advice available online and in books on how to write your memoir, novel, or screenplay. Most of it focuses on you, as a sole creator, writing by yourself.

This guide is different. In these posts, I show you how to write as part of a team, one where multiple contributors (writers, editors, and designers) work together to create and publish something excellent – something that they can all be proud of.

Whether you're a professional content creator or not, I hope these posts will give you the concrete advice you need on how to make the collaborative writing process less painful—and maybe even enjoyable.

Please let me know how it works for you!

The collaborative writing series

  1. Writing as a team
    How creating content collaboratively is different from solo writing
  2. The POWERS process for effective team writing
    A six-step method for making collaborative content creation simpler and more effective
  3. How to start a writing project with a team
    How to prepare effectively for a group writing project (this post includes links to two templates you can use: an assignment brief template and a meeting agenda for kicking off a content project)
  4. Three ways to write an outline - plus one that is better than all the others
    Why an outline is so important, and 4 different types of outlines
  5. How to write - and how to avoid writer's block
    5 tips for getting started when you’re stuck
  6. Avoiding that "Untitled document" feeling in Google Docs
    How to ensure that no one is confused about what to do next.
  7. What does an editor actually do?
    Good editing aims at improving the writer as well as what they’ve written
  8. Release management for content products
    How to create and use a pre-publication checklist (includes a sample checklist template you can use)
  9. How to measure content effectiveness
    Quantitative and qualitative metrics you can use to study and improve content production.
  10. Blogs are alive and well, survey data shows
    Over 80% of professional content creators are busy writing blog posts for our companies and clients, according to my survey.
  11. The top tools for collaborative writing, part 1: Writing and editing
    Google Docs is the runaway favorite tool for writing and editing, used by 79% of all content pros.
  12. The top tools for collaborative writing, part 2: Project management and publishing
    What's the best choice for managing an editorial calendar? Once again, Google tools lead – but that's not the whole story.

Note: I'm currently consolidating these posts, editing and expanding on them, and packaging them into a book. I'm also working on putting them together into a course, which will be available both live and as on-demand video. I can't wait to show you more!

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