For the most part, writing is a solo gig that involves a single person and his or her computer, but you might have opportunities in life to write with a partner. This might seem easier than writing by yourself — half the work, half the responsibility — but unfortunately it can often lead to arguments, disputes and frustration. Since writing is a deeply personal venture, and every writer has different methods of working, two people can easily clash when they attempt to write with a partner.
Read Each Other’s Work
Before you even begin your writing project, you should read each other’s work. You can’t hope to write with a partner unless you know his or her style of writing as well as all of the little nuances that we develop as we hone our crafts. Read essays, stories, articles and anything else you can get your hands on so that you can determine objectively whether or not your writing styles are compatible.
Discuss Writing Methods
The end result of your writing is completely separate from your writing process. Talk with your partner about how you work best and discuss how you might accommodate one another. For example, I like to work in silence while my wife can’t write unless there’s classical music in the background. Because of this, our offices are on opposite sides of the house and we never write in the same room.
Divide the Work Evenly
Nothing will ruin a writing partnership more effectively than one partner feeling that he or she is handling the majority of the burden. Obviously, you won’t be able to divide the work right down the middle, but you can make an effort to ensure that neither of you us working too hard. You might discover halfway into the project that the original division of work was unfair. You must be willing to be flexible.
You must have an open relationship in a writing partnership, but that doesn’t mean you need to be callous toward your partner’s feelings. When you need to criticize his or her work, make your words as tactful as possible. Build him or her up with the things you like about the work, then describe the areas you feel need improvement. Of course, you should expect the same courtesy in return, so let your partner know if he or she is too harsh with criticism.
Don’t Make Any Promises
Regardless of the type of writing you and your partner are doing together, it is best to give the writing partnership a try before making any long-term commitments. Finish the initial project first, then talk about whether or not it is working. Be honest about the positives and negatives and ask that your partner do the same. Before you embark upon further writing projects, make sure that working together is the best thing for you both.