The Collaboration Diary

Day 1 – Sun 8th Sept 2019

While out walking and talking with Jonathan Gosling, the leader of the writing retreat I was attending on Lambay Island, Co. Dublin, Ireland, I had the notion that to reflect the meta dimension of our book – Doug and I collaborating on a book about collaborating – we should each keep a diary of how the process looked from our side.

I got back to my desk in the library of the White House and fired off a short email to suggest the diary idea to Doug. He swiftly replied: “That diary idea is a superb one.”

So this is Day 1 my side, the day of that email. On this writing retreat I have been kicking the tyres of Doug’s original proposal. That process is largely recorded here in these blog posts which I used each day as a warm-up:

  • Adventures in the Writing Trade: Day 1
  • Adventures in the Writing Trade: Day 2
  • Adventures in the Writing Trade: Day 3
  • Adventures in the Writing Trade: Day 4

Following the one-to-one with Jonathan I decided to broaden things out after much concentrated attention on the Proposal and related documents to outside media in the form of a recommended video: Margaret Heffernan’s Super-chicken TED talk.

I did some more work on the Structure/Contents page, trying to come up with something I felt happier with, more convincing and consistent.

Then I read parts of Doug’s Collaborative Working Pocketbook to get a better grasp of those perspectives of his I found hardest to grasp from paper alone (the concise proposal).

In the afternoon we did a workshop on Readership from which I further developed my thinking on Audience and Scope.

But Doug’s response to the diary suggestion was the key event of the day: “That diary idea is a superb one. But could be a significant chunk of the book. An evolutionary process.”

I was delighted we felt the same about that. And delighted he pushed the idea further.

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