Faced with the prospects of a collaborative writing venture, a contract and a tight deadline for our collaborative text The Girls Guide to Real Estate we realised that our understanding of collaboration had not been much more than a general motherhood concept tossed about with nods of approval but rarely unpacked. In setting out to write our collaborative text we needed more insights into the various forms of collaboration and more to hang our authorial hats on than those feel-good pegs. In addition, at a time when collaboration is increasingly becoming part of a writers’ working life, and as teachers and practitioners of writing, we felt we needed more understanding of the collaborative process in general.
Deleuze and Guattari commenting on their own collaborative writing are interesting here and, in a sense, we found we had named for ourselves the crowd they speak of: The two of us wrote Anti-Oedipus together. Since each of us was several, there was already quite a crowd. Here we have made use of everything that came within range, what was closest as well as farthest away. We have assigned clever pseudonyms to prevent recognition. Why have we kept our own names? Out of habit, purely out of habit. To make ourselves unrecognisable in turn.