Updated: Jan 30, 2021
I am incredibly excited to tell you that six new titles have been added to the 'Success in Research' series published by SAGE: 'Inspiring Collaboration and Engagement', 'Mentoring to Empower Researchers', 'Publishing for Impact', Supervising to Inspire Doctoral Researchers' and 'Delivering Inspiring Doctoral Assessment'. If you are a researcher looking for motivational guidance to help you make the most of the opportunities and challenges that you find at any stage of an academic career, then look no further than this series!
I wanted to share with you a taste of my experience as a member of the authorial and editorial teams for these books. When I was asked, back in 2017, to join a collaboration of 4 editors and 10 authors to embark on a bit of a writing adventure, little did I know what a rollercoaster of emotions I would encounter in the two years that lay ahead. However, Through the ride, I learned just how transformative collaboration can be if done in the right spirit and with a professional insistence on rigour and integrity.
The initial excitement of being part of a project to produce 6 books with the same deadline within two years lasted a few weeks. In our respective authoring teams, we indulged ourselves in lofty ideas of what each book should be about and could look like. Then came the harsh reality of peer review and the need for feasible, not lofty, proposals to the publisher. That wave safely navigated, we settled down to what seemed like endless cycles of drafting, giving feedback to each other and redrafting. Though this cycle often felt relentless, we all learned the value of this cycle in transforming chapters from woolly, meandering pieces of writing to honed, clearly focused text. I cannot lie though, there were times when I just could not look at yet more feedback from my fellow authors!
After these cycles of drafting came the editorial work - another collaborative Everest to climb. As we editors were also authors, the main challenge here was time management - editing one book whilst redrafting another for a fellow editor to edit. There was also the issue of liaising closely with the editors and proof-readers from the publishing house, who were working to their own tight deadlines. Another challenge in such collaboration was accommodating different working styles: some of us preferred to work right up to deadline date, whilst others found that approach far too stressful.
The learning curve for all of us involved in this project was huge, but as I mentioned at the start, we did it! Through close collaboration that was based on trust, mutual appreciation, respect as well as a penchant for challenges and a generous serving of good humour, we kept each other focused. Would I do it again? If you asked me that when we had just finished the titles, I would have given you a resounding 'No, never!'; however, like childbirth, the memory of the pain soon fades, and my answer now would be 'Most definitely!' So, if you are offered a chance to collaborate on an exciting writing project, go ahead and say 'yes', feel the pain as you do it, and bask in the memory of what you have learned when it is all over.