One of our first assignments this semester was to participate in a collaborative writing activity. I really haven’t had a lot of experience with collaborative writing. I think that I completed some group writing activities when I was a student at UVA, but that was many many years ago. I must admit that I found collaborative writing to be a bit frustrating. As a former English teacher, I will be honest and admit that I am a little set in my ways with respect to writing. With this assignment, there was little time to learn about the writing process of my partner…we just had to start writing. Although we met the requirements of the assignment, I think we both walked away feeling that the paper was not the best representation of our ability. However, I do believe that this activity served as a nice precursor to what I may encounter during the Capstone project. This project will provide a lot more time to work collaboratively and I think it will be a positive experience.
Ironically, right at the same time that we were discussing collaborative writing in class, I was involved in a collaborative writing project at work. I recently worked with nine other administrators from my division to complete the Race to the Top Grant. Due to miscommunication from the state, we had very little time to pull the grant together. We selected writing partners and a section of the grant on which to focus. The level of frustration that I felt during this process is mind-boggling. My partner did not help at all…I mean not even a sentence. Additionally, I had to be out of the building for several days to meet with the larger group. Many times these meetings seemed unorganized until half way through the day. I felt really bad about my time away from school because the other administrators in my building had to take on my share of the load. Even so, I was still backlogged when I finally did return. Honestly, between two cases of bronchitis and this grant, I really did not spend a lot of time at work during the month of October. I digress….back to the writing…I am very particular about the things that I do. If my name is attached to it in any way, I want it to be done right. After we finished the writing process, a couple of team members volunteered to proofread the entire document (the length of a short novel). Once they made changes, I looked over it and decided that it needed further revision. This was a time-consuming process that we were forced to complete in a couple of couple of weeks in order to provide the state and the mayor with ten days to review the document before we submitted the proposal to the federal department.
For me, the grant writing activity gave merit to the collaborative writing activity that we completed in class. I realize now how useful and timely the collaborative writing was in that it is realistically something that I may have to do from time to time in this profession.