2¢ on Collaboratives & Gravy Trains

It is rare for Collaboratives to succeed due to enduring and ever-present free-rider inefficiencies.

For creative professionals, collaboratives more often than not provide an optimum synergistic environment; for groundbreaking onslaughts demanding apprenticed sprit (and just dumb luck) insight alongwith conceivable failures of appreciation

A while ago I tried paddling in untested stream, in untested weather. Our flock together pushes Beatitude -for you— given a predictably dysfunctional situation, I am content to sponateously last-ditch effort gently encouraged my contrib

Phenomenally, not one took interest in my qualifications, my experience, my ability as a coach to guide them into more effective text production.

Yes, I was ungodly fortunate in some ways. I had an ear for the rhythms, nuances and subtle cadrnces of our native tongue. Forgive the ego: I by hoped I could give a “step-up” and witness an automatic renunciation of run on sentences, confused personal and relative pronouns. I hoped you would hear your Native American English as an anthem in infinite variations, subject to your skilled fashioning. . . . Now I see, of course, the absurdity of my aspiration: my staff had no compelling need to communicate anything in particular. English did not resonate in their ears as it does in a common conch shell.

considered myself honored to interview social media accounts for TheRoundUp, marshaling contributors through to final publication was unreasonably and unnacceptably difficult. From a business perspective, given the demonstrated dishonesty of specific members on copyright issues, fissures fatal to the ezine’s continued existence could not, as a fiduciary matter, continue. Beloved fellow ShowMeState former President, Harry Truman, like any properly raised Missouri citizen, declared “the buck stops here.”

Former friends, albeit disappointing staff because you couldn’t have known better, I hoped to help you into a new self-esteem by inducting you into a guild of linguistic dexterity.

In retrospective of the BirbObserver, Inc. ezine collapse, I would add there is a culture of journalism which operates well within a collaborative model, but few on the staff had adequate journalism experience to be empowered in a Collaborative.

Two necessary traits of a journalist– off the top of my head– are a writer’s compulsive redrafting reflex and an endocrine system that drives teamwork in face of a publication deadline.

While all contributing authors had published work-product in newsletters and the like, none displayed that obsession to recraft a piece perfectly to evoke the desired experiences in their readers’ minds. Language is an amazing tool; with practice writers develop dexterity with rhetorical methods and techniques. Yet our staff lacked acute awareness of the forms and structures they used. They should not have required prompting to reconsider their rhetoric and learn some gymnastics with it.

Contributors similarly did not gear up for teamwork in face of a production deadline. Of course, in this age of news blogs, the final requirements are fewer than in the days of paste-up for hard copy. The production team doesn’t brainstorm for snappy titles because they aren’t counting pica. Writers don’t hone text because articles don’t have to be jigsawed into page limitations. The blog just rolls along and along.

For my own part, over time I spot these deficiencies in others because I was roped into editing for my older sisters’ high school newspaper at age ten. When I was an editor of Cornell Law Review years later, it was the editor’s redraft which was published. Whether the author was a prominent Harvard professor or not, after the editorial process, her only choice was to accept the edits or withdraw the article.

I hoped to encourage my writers’ sensibilities to their writing style and the total of the rhetorical inventory.

At least the thunder storm that brewed when a member railed against submitting a Mission Statement Survey ignited the amassed gunpowder of frustration. Finally I had sufficent self-esteem to insure the gravy train stop right then.

I know I’m old when Law Review represents The Golden Age of publishing! My Board Chair said she couldn’t stand the drama; in journalism drama only occurs when some one thwarts the production process.

My 2¢.