30 Dec 2016
For the vast majority of writers, their craft is a solitary thing. It doesn’t necessarily have to be an escape, but more often than not, it will be a way to stop, listen to one’s own voice and then try to put it on paper.
However, when you try to make a living writing, you sometimes end up as part of a team of writers who are employed by an organization of some kind. Sure, you are still writing your own thing, but you are not alone.
The author of this article had the pleasure of working in such a setup. Moreover, he got to manage a team of writers. And you can rest assured that this kind of work comes with a bag full of challenges that soon take over your life.
So, just in case some of you have to manage a team of writers one day, here are a few things to keep in mind.
So Much Passion
Usually when people talk about team management and project management in business, passion is considered a good thing. It is the thing that drives the team forward and that ensures that everything sparks and continues sparking.
When you manage a team of writers, this sparking can turn into a firestorm in a matter of seconds.
Simply put, writers feel a whole lot of passion for their work, even if they themselves do not think it. The team this article is based on wrote copy for a company that operated in a very boring industry and the copy being written was not exactly soul-changing.
Still, writers felt so strongly about seemingly unimportant matters that it definitely became too much at times and it required quite a bit of tact and defusing technique.
In short, passionate writers who will not back down easily are the first challenge to keep in mind if you plan on taking a job as a writing team manager.
Pressure From Two Sides
Managing a team of writers as part of a company comes with certain expectations from outside (above) the team. Companies operate in very simple terms and they have no time or understanding for the intricacies of the written word.
On the other hand, you have writers who want to be left alone to write and who do not want to be pressured. They are often pushing back, just for the sake of it.
Before you know it, this combination causes friction and you can guess who feels the brunt of it. Yes, you do.
The best thing you can do for yourself is to do some project management software comparison and find a solution that best suits your need. This way, you can assign work to your writers and ensure that everything is done in due time. Using such software will also allow you to show the higher ups what is going on and where things stand.
Writers are rarely perfectly disciplined. It is not in their nature. If they were perfectly disciplined, they would be accountants or something like that. Sure, some of them are disciplined writers, as in they get the writing done. But they do not make the most disciplined employees.
For the most part, you get over it. You get over the fact they haven’t put in the necessary paperwork or notified the people who had to be notified. You get over the fact that you are blasting emails and texts Sunday at 9 p.m., just to make sure your writers don’t get in trouble.
Sometimes, however, it can be a bit disheartening. There are some situations which could really have been avoided if anyone but you stopped to think for a moment. At those times, you feel like the biggest fool in the world for taking on a task like this.
Instead of a Closing Word
But then, after all is said and done, after half a dozen pre-infarction events and just as many telling offs from the higher ups, your writing team treats you to the best piece of writing that was ever done in the industry.
And you feel great.
You remember why you love writing, why you love writers and why managing a team of writers is not the worst thing in the world.