Have you ever done any collaborative writing? If so, you might recognise one or more of these co-writers. And if not, this will help to prepare you for the collaborators you may meet.
The One Who Works From Home: ‘I know I said I’d do it today, but Annie is off school sick so she needs my attention quite a bit. Our electrician’s here doing something important, apparently, but he keeps asking me to make decisions about plug sockets and things. I must make a dent in the laundry mountain, Annie got through two sets of bedding last night, then I’ll try to get to our draft if she and the electrician will leave me alone for a minute.’
The Global Networker: ‘The problem is, I’m doing a keynote in Helsinki next week, then after that I’m chairing in Jo’burg, then there’s the convocation in Boston. Straight from there to Rio, where I’m chairing again, then another keynote in Sydney. Not sure after that, can’t think that far ahead, but I suspect it’s more of the same. So it may be a while before I’m able to look at our paper, but I’ll do what I can.’
The Amazingly Unrealistic: ‘I know I took on more teaching this year but I didn’t realise that would mean lots of preparation and marking, I can’t believe how long it takes, and all the meetings! I simply don’t have time for anything else. So I won’t have time for our paper till the holidays, but I’m sure I’ll be able to get it done while I’m with the family at Center Parcs or else while we’re in Austria ski-ing.’
The Poorly Poppet: ‘It’s this back spasm, it’s agony, I can’t get up off the floor so it’s really hard to use the computer. I’m writing this on my phone, though I shouldn’t really be using that with my eyes the way they are, they hurt like hell, I’m sure I’ve got a migraine starting, or maybe it’s a brain tumour. I simply can’t work at the moment but I’ll be back to our paper as soon as I’m on the mend, I promise.’
The International Fieldworker: ‘I’ve come into the city and I’m in this hotel where I can buy wi-fi for an hour, honestly the price is exorbitant, must get through all my emails if I can. Then I’m off back to the village, won’t be on line again for a fortnight, sorry, I really am committed to this paper but there’s no electricity in the village let alone an internet connection so I’m going to be late with my draft.’
The Very Important Person: ‘I got a bit tied up in Brussels with Kofi, then Angela wanted a hand with her new strategy, and now I’ve had a summons from the White House which is such a drag but I’ll try to get something done on the plane.’
So what about you, Helen, you might well ask? Are you Dr Perfect, then?
But of course! And I doubt that endears me to my collaborators, either. Here’s how I think they would describe me:
The Insufferably Irritating: ‘Well of course I met my deadline.’ *folds arms, taps foot, looks smug*
thanks. that was amusing…and maybe doctoral students should read it too cause it gives an insight into the realm of the academic life…