This isn’t really a lesson I learned “the hard way” – in fact, in a lot of ways, it is a lesson I learned “the easy way” – but I figured I’d keep the post series title alive. And I did learn some lessons of co-authoring “the hard way” – though, thankfully, very few. I am a big fan of co-authoring – I think, often, the sum of perspectives and skills is better than the parts. Add to that the fact that co-authoring is becoming more and more accepted in the discipline, and what could go wrong?
ertainly, I mean that tongue-in-cheek, and plenty could go wrong. But I think that the adventure is worth it. I have co-authored and co-edited with colleagues, mentors, students, and former students, and the overwhelming majority of these co-authoring relationships have been amazing. I call them relationships for a number of reasons: first, many of them have spanned a number of years and a number of projects; second, a lot of relating is actually necessary to producing quality product in co-authorship with someone else; third, it is important to think of co-authoring as a relationship to know that one is getting into a long-term professional involvement with even co-authors with whom one writes once; and, finally, I think that, for me, many of those relationships have easily been more than a sum of their parts. I could gush about how lucky I have been in the co-author (and co-editor) department for a whole post – but that isn’t great advice.
Instead, the rest of this post is going to talk about picking co-authors, some of the potential pitfalls of co-authorship, and some of the ways that I think good co-authoring relationships can be very helpful to a career in political science/International Relations.