#10: Assembling A Writing Team… A “Team” of Writers.

Writers. Creatives with strong ethos, pathos and logos. Visionaries. Published Children’s Book Authors. Chapter book writers. Collaborators. Team players. Male and female. Passionate. Ethical and loyal. International. This was my list of must-haves for The JNP Project’s creative writing team.


The JNP Advisory Committee had already directed me down the path to create chapter books as opposed to storybooks—I agreed. It was apparent to me that I could not just work with ‘one’ writer/author; I knew I needed to assemble a team. This was quite normal and typical to me—you see, in all my years of creative brand advertising, it was all about the “team” efforts. We worked collaboratively on teams through every level of creative development (as more heads were always better than one!) —so why would this be any different in the world of children’s writers?

KenSpillmanWhen I put a “Call out for Writers” in my worldwide search to build an international writing team, I prefaced the fact that this was for a collaborative writing project. I got quite a lot of responses, and oddly enough (to me), only about half noted they would work with a team of creative writers (either they never had worked that way before, or were opposed to working that way). I was quite surprised, but have come to understand that writer’s tend to be introverts, working within themselves to develop their creative writing.

JanBoothI absolutely knew that I wanted to assemble an open-minded creative team to collaborate well together in real-time—face to face—and it took me about 4 months to get through on-line resumes; on-line posting responses and phone interviews. After very careful consideration, I chose the team wisely: USA, UK and Australia. The CWT+ (Creative Writing Team+) composed of a female Lead Writer, a female and male creative writer, me as creative director, a male editor, and female proofreader—a fantastically well-rounded mix of writers, backgrounds and local.

We are coming up on our one-year anniversary—April 27, 2013—and are thrilled and pleased to be working together as a team! We are organic and our chemistry flows… We explode off of each other with creative ideas and work well to agree or disagree on a segment or element that needs addressing. It has been a fabulous experience for each of us. We Skype weekly for 2-3 hours face-to-face, and work collaboratively via email and Google Docs and DIIGO to share content together. We are producing amazing work. I have been asked, “How did you know how to choose the right people for the team?” and my only answer is that it was my “gut feeling” when assembling the group. I didn’t just “get lucky,” I worked hard to review backgrounds, read works of writing, and then personal conversations drove me down to the final choices. I am so proud of the CWT+ and look forward to a long professional relationship together. See, hard work does pay off!

This style of children’s writing will, no doubt, introduce and enhance the ideas of collaborative writing teams going forward. Think about working with other creatives—it is truly rewarding on many levels.

The JNP Project CWT+ is composed of:
• Founder & Creative Director, Dona Rudderow Sturn
• Creative Lead Writer, Kathy Szaj
• Creative Writer, Judy Bartkowiak
• Creative Writer, Jim Westcott
• Writing Editor, Ken Spillman
• Grammar Editor, Janice Booth

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Note: This Blog is a chronological diary of a start-up-company—The JNP Project’s Journey—reading it from the start, will broaden your understanding of the path we are on, together, and hopefully, positively influence you in some way!

FYI Tip: ~ I used LinkedIn Groups (writers, children’s writers, authors and illustrators) to reach my “call out for Writers’ notifications — LI Groups is a fantastic way to connect globally!
~ Google Drive for shared documents is invaluable.
~ DIIGO for shared research is invaluable.
~ I highly suggest that taking collaborative writing into consideration would be most beneficial. There are many levels of collaboration:­­

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