Sunday, December 2, 2012

Collaborating on a book

I'm in the later stages of completing a brief book called Sober Play: Using Creativity for More Joy and Meaning in Recovery. This is my fifth book and the first one I've done in collaboration. My friend Bridget Benton and I started talking about this book a couple of years ago when we were on a writing retreat. I was talking about it as a project I'd like to do and she expressed interest in working on it with me. At the time she was just finishing up her fabulous Creative Conversations: Art-Making as Playful Prayer. This had been a long process for her carved out of a busy life and I was reluctant to ask her to commit to yet another book right away. And I was working on a novel that I didn't want to drop, even for a while. So we let it sit.

Then last August I finished the draft of the novel and knew that I wanted to take on Sober Play as my next effort. But Bridget was still hard at work on other major projects, so we agreed that I would move forward on my own. I wrote a first and second draft that could stand alone or that could fold in some chapters of Bridget's experience and expertise. And once I saw the value of another voice of experience in the book, I also asked some other friends to share their experience, strength, and hope about using creativity in recovery in mini-essays.

It has been important and interesting for me to relinquish full control of the outcome of these contributions, to wait on someone else's schedule, to figure out how to mesh voices and formatting into a whole. Fortunately, Bridget and I both have a solid foundation in the 12 Steps so our negotiations have been easy and simplified by the use of those tools and our mutual commitment to generosity. And I can already see that the book is going to be richer and stronger for all these collaborations.

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