Written by A Guest Author

Why You Should Find A Writing Partner, Where To Get One, And How To Make It Work

By Nicole Bloomfield

As writers, we get used to producing work under no one’s watchful eyes other than our own. It is a solitary hobby, but one that we greatly enjoy (for some, the seclusion may even be part of the appeal). However, that doesn’t mean we always need to be alone in our journey. A writing partner is a creative collaborator who helps share responsibility for projects. You can look over each other’s work, or even write a piece together depending on the nature of your partnership. In fact, getting a writing partner over a year ago changed my life personally and professionally, and here’s why I recommend you should do the same. I also suggest some places where you can search for such partnerships.

I’m going to start with focusing on the benefits of having a writing partner, before talking about the characteristics of a good writing partner, how to make a writing partnership work, and where you can find one.

The Benefits of Having a Writing Partner

Complement Each Other’s Strengths

Alpha reading, feedback on the overarching plot and character development, is a built-in part of a writing partnership. Not only will you get an outsider’s viewpoint for a relatively objective look at your work, they could also cover aspects you might not have paid attention to. Even great writers have their pitfalls, but having a writing partner can cover your shortcomings. For example, I’m much more focused on the character’s emotion in a scene, which might result in the dialogue sounding stifled. Thankfully, my writing partner is great at sharp banter, and could point out times where the dialogue sounds cliche or unrealistic, and fill in the holes. This also improved my writing as a whole because I know what I need to improve and be mindful of.

Bounce Off Ideas

When my partner and I were brainstorming together for our novel, we would have never reached the level of nuance, plot, character development and so forth without each other. Because we’re bouncing off ideas, we lay a solid foundation from the beginning since we already had different points of view on the story.

Hone Your Editing Skills

With a writing partner, there is rarely a shortage of things to edit. My writing partner noticed that after editing my poems, she had gotten a lot better at editing her own stuff as well. Now, she can easily get into the revising groove and generally improved her writing despite not writing much poetry in the past six months.

Offer Each Other Motivation

As we all know, motivation is fleeting, but having someone rely on your ability to meet deadlines is a good way to force yourself to write, even when you don’t feel like it. I found myself becoming more prolific in the process since having someone read over my work in-depth motivates me, and because I don’t want to disappoint them.

Lessen the Workload

This is a huge benefit. For instance, if you’re working on YA (one of the most popular literary genres), an average novel rounds to 50K words in the final draft, which can take a lot of mental energy. Not to mention outlining the premise, brainstorming, drafting, and so on. When you have a partner to share the workload, not only you have someone who is passionate about the work’s creative vision which is extremely motivating, but the overall time to finish a project is reduced greatly.

Lift Each Other Up 

Sending each other submission opportunities you can both strive for. Advertising each other’s work, if one person makes it to fame they can raise the other person up. There’s no need for competition because you’re both on the same team and want the best for each other.

What Are the Good Characteristics Of A Writing Partner?

However, not all writing partnerships are created equal, due to personality clashes, different priorities in life, and so on. Here are some attributes you should look out for:

  • Similar work ethic
  • Trustworthy
  • Complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Willing to provide constructive criticism
  • Similar taste in writing
  • Similar creative vision and passion for writing
  • Generally someone you would enjoy working with

How To Make A Writing Partnership Work

Like any partnership, there are always obstacles ahead. Heated disagreements, differences in writing approaches or styles, glory hogging, and money disputes, to list a few. It’s important to lay prior expectations, to avoid the unexpected such as your partner quitting midway through a project. Ask them their goals in the partnership, and state yours in return to see whether your direction is aligned. Maybe you are planning to take your writing as a hobby, so expect a more relaxed approach instead of producing finished, publishable work. It’s about the spirit of the contract before you delve into the nitty-gritty.

For example, my writing partner and I have decided to team up together as we are close friends outside of this endeavour, therefore are familiar with each other’s working styles, quirks, and so on. Furthermore, we both are hard-working, don’t like to disappoint people when we make a promise, and have individual writing successes prior to our partnership like winning local competitions. However, it’s only after working with each other that we started getting published in national magazines, and my poetry chapbook got published.

It’s essential to never take criticism personally and use “I” statements while offering room for improvement. For example, instead of saying “the story’s pacing is too quick,” say “I think the story’s pacing is too quick” and offer reasons why, along with what the writer could do to improve. It’s also important to list what you like about the story to ensure those elements would remain intact.

Where Can I Find A Writing Partner?

Friends & Family

While not every friend makes good writing partner material, finding one you can work with could make the writing process that much more enjoyable. It is especially important to set prior expectations about the workload, ensure honest communication, and ensure it can be integrated into your relationship.

Local Writing Groups

Unfortunately, I don’t have much experience in local writing groups personally due to the pandemic and most requiring a subscription fee, but it’s a valid method to find writing partnerships. Plus, meeting people physically often offers a higher sense of accountability.

Social Media

I would recommend Discord writing groups personally since it worked well for me when I needed to have another writing partner for a short project, and I was able to find one by posting an advertisement. You should state the type of experience you have with the craft along with the level of commitment you’re expecting from your partner — whether it’s serious or casual. Although online partnerships tend to be brief, they are nonetheless valuable as they’ll not only provide you editing experience, but also working with a variety of tastes and creative directions.

In Conclusion

For someone who loves writing, finding a dedicated writing partner changed my life. Although there were some bumps in the road like mismatched scheduling issues or unproductive meetings, we can push through it all because we both had the same core values – to further our professional writing careers and not treat it as some fun hobby. Of course, at the end of the day, nobody can do the work for you, but having a good writing partner by your side at all times helps a lot. In fact, it may just be the right push all along. 

References

– From Standout Books
– From MasterClass
– From The Writing Cooperative


Nicole Bloomfield is a 16-year-old Hong Kong writer who has been published in more than nineteen publications. One of her works was praised by The New Yorker, and another won the Renee Duke Youth Award. Her first chapbook, “Crossing the Chasm,” is forthcoming from Trouble Department in 2023.

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