Creativity comes from a multitude of sources. It can be from an image to a dream or a discussion you had with a random stranger or friend. Ideas spawn and from them, we as writers tend to grab on and ride the wave through our written word. At the end of the day when we look back at our creation, we feel as if we have given birth to something that is all our own. Which in part, the hard work was ours and the putting pen to paper give us the majority of the credit for that final product. But we must not forget those who have helped us along the way.
During a recent discussion, a question about how Jei and I handle sharing our credit in the personal partnership we have was raised. How exactly do we divvy out the credit between the two of us? Of course, to us, the answer was easy; work together, communicate and share responsibility. But as we thought about it further we realized that because of our current relationship status we may have a leg up on the ability to compromise and communicate in an efficient manner. What about those who do not have that advantage? How do they handle the process of sharing credit? What is the best way to give credit? When is giving credit necessary? It sparked a lot of thoughts that I wanted to share with the rest of you.
While we have agreed to share our work together when it comes to our book and short stories, we still keep our writing saved separately so we know which piece is which. There is a lot of communication and planning and a lot of conversations about what is or is not okay to merge. We respect one another’s independent style and look not to correct each other that level but seek to merge ourselves together and find a balance when it comes to the final product we wish to put out.
Giving credit outside of a partnership is just as important. While the idea that you are an all knowing, all creative being is a nice thought, the creative process really isn’t a solo venture. We bounce ideas off of friends, talk to fellow writers, adapt old ideas into new or are even become sparked to write two or three books from someone else’s table top game.
I think the key point with giving credit is making sure that we understand just how much influence the person has over our writing. And that no matter how we may feel about the person now or in twenty years, it is important to give credit when it comes to published or public works. That is not just due to the fact that a possible law suit may happen, but due to the fact that as writers we cannot do it on our own. I have harped on it before that we are a community and we must act like one, adding to it and not selfishly taking away from it.
Some of the best ways to be sure that you are giving credit is to mention the person or persons that helped you in some part of your work or giving credit on your social media sites. Making sure that you have recognized the hard work they put forth that first started you off or has helped you along the way is both a personal courtesy and professional kindness.
So whether you are working with partners, being helped by a friend or finding inspiration in other people’s works, be sure to give credit where credit is due and work alongside these peers to help keep the writer’s community going.