I’d start the essay with the following quote:
Writing is personal; editing may be collaborative.
And, it holds true in all cases. Even if you collaborate with your colleagues to work on a writing project, I would still say that writing is personal. Because it’s impossible for two or more people to write simultaneously on a topic.
Sometimes, I collaborate with Bikash to write some highly technical posts and guess how it proceeds — I write and he reviews my writings, then he writes and I review his writings and this keeps repeating several times.
Clearly, writing is personal to you and your colleagues, it’s editing that you’re collaborating for. Yes, you can edit by yourself and that’s why I have used “may be” in the quote above.
Just to be clear, by the word “personal” here, I do not mean that the person who writes something, owns it; I mean that the writing process is a personal process.
I don’t know why the term collaborative writing even exists. It is not suitable and writing can never be collaborative. I would suggest replacing the terms with “collaborative publishing” or “collaborative work” or “collaborative report or book”, you get the idea, right?
If a book has 2 writers, the followings are the possibilities of their collaboration:
- both wrote some parts of the book individually and then both reviewed or edited each other’s work
- one person wrote the book and the other person edited the book
And in both cases — the writing is personal; it is editing that they collaborated for.