• Business of Writing

    Group. Freaking. Projects.

    Let’s talk group projects…

    Let’s be honest, we all hated them in school. Right? Well maybe not in grade school…in grade school we were lulled into believing they were the shit. They came under the disguise of writing silly songs or creating story boards. Fun things. Things that didn’t seem a whole lot like work.

    Then came high school. There were always those kids that sat back like entitled little shits and let everyone else do the work, and usually in Bio lab or a group report for History or English.

    Then some of us had that one damn teacher in college that made us do them again…and of course, we were left holding the bag and doing all the work this time for entitled little turd wads whose mommies and daddies were paying for their college while they drank away their nights and woke up in puddles of their own vomit.

    Never me.

    I’m the person who has pushed through absolute hell to make her commitments. Don’t believe me? In college, while married, running my own business, and raising three daughters, and right before my wedding to my second husband, I got left holding the bag on a 185 page technical manual rewrite for the state of Florida as part of my semester end project. You can bet that sucker was turned it with an extensive break down on who did what, 95% on my shoulders, with every moment documented.

    There was no way in hell they were getting an A on my effort.

    And in the writing world, I’ve pushed through my daughter’s suicide attempts to meet deadlines. The first attempt being on the same day of my very first book release. Then there were the subsequent attempts, six hospital stays, her rape…I could go on and on.

    She’s great now, so don’t feel bad for me. I just say this so people who read it don’t think I’m talking out of my ass when I say it.

    I know what it’s like to make magic happen when my world is crashing down around me. I know what it means to be dedicated enough and stubborn enough to push through adversity and get the job done.

    So I have zero tolerance for someone who sits back and let’s others carry them.

    This brings me to today…

    I’m in a group project, a box set…a list-aiming box set.

    And you guessed it, sure as shit, there are people who are sitting back and letting us do all the work.

    I kept plugging away, doing my work, doing more than my fair share, and keeping my mouth shut. I’m not going to complain about every little thing I see, but I have my breaking point. Finally, yesterday, I reached it.

    I saw something so self-serving and tone-deaf to the fact that this is a group project that I finally had to speak up.

    *GASP*

    Yeah, I spoke up. I spoke up this morning after one, taking a night to think it through, and two, making sure I ran it past my set leaders for their approval. There’s a responsible way to handle this and making sure you don’t undermine your team lead is an absolute must!

    Now this is the part of the writing industry where people would normally say, “You know what, it’s just best to stay quiet. You don’t want to rock the boat. Karma will find them.”

    Anyone else tired of this advice?

    Yeah, me too!

    Want to know why? Because no one ever changes their behavior if they aren’t called on it. And it’s not my job to sit back and sweep under the carpet when someone is taking advantage of me and not living up to their obligations when their lack of effort puts my goals and finances at risk.

    When did being a writer become needing to sit back politely and eating shit with a knife and fork while others take advantage of us?

    That might work for some people, but not me. Not at all.

    Now, maybe some people really can’t handle the idea of rocking the boat. Confrontation freaks them out, but at some point, as adults, as responsible project participants, we have an obligation to address people who aren’t living up to their obligations.

    Does that mean I’m rocking the boat?

    Maybe, but you know what…I’ll rock it, pick it up, and beat a slacker over the head with it if they have it coming.

    In this case, this project has been ten months in the making. Ten months of time, effort, and very real dollars going into the project. That’s time, energy, and money that was not devoted to my family. Anyone participating in group projects needs to remember, and most of all respect the investment participants are making toward the end result and do their best to step up and make their best effort to match it.

    And here’s the final food for thought. It’s easy to forget just how small this industry is. It seems like every time a writer turns around, there are ten new author names coming on the scene.

    Don’t let it fool you. The industry is small and tight. People talk. And indies? They really talk. If you’re that persons, that slacker, you might not have anyone willing to confront you, but be assured, your use and abuse of others around you is not going unnoticed. People are remembering your name, they’re asking colleagues about you, they’re taking screenshots to document you loathsome behavior. You’re becoming the person in the industry that eventually no one is going to want to work with.

    Don’t be that guy. While riding coattails in your meager attempt at advancing your career, you’re burning critical bridges to your future success.

    Yeah, you’re making a name for yourself alright, but it’s not a good one.