Partner Up to Reach Your Writing Goals

Writing is a solitary activity, but partnering up with another writer can make it a lot less lonely.

Finding a good writing partner can bring many benefits:

  • Regular feedback on your work
  • A fresh perspective on writing problems that are getting you stuck
  • Support to get you through moments of frustration and discouragement
  • Motivation to keep on track with writing goals

Meeting with your writing partner

If you and your writing partner live in the same area, you can meet in person at a café or a library. The Internet also makes it easy to maintain long-distance writing partnerships. You can exchange your work by e-mail, then meet if you like by telephone or Skype.

Skype has the advantage of being free for voice and video chats. It also has tools for sharing your computer screen which can come in handy when reviewing a manuscript with your partner.

It's good idea to set regular times to meet or exchange work; for example, once a week, or once every other week. Getting into a routine makes it much easier to keep the partnership going. Anticipating regularly scheduled meetings with your partner can also inject energy and momentum into your daily writing activities.

Structuring your meetings

The best setup for your partnership will depend on your needs and schedule and those of your partner. You might find it helpful to meet regularly, or you might find it more comfortable to limit your communication to e-mail only.

If you do decide to set up meetings, here is just one idea for organizing them:

  1. At least one week ahead of time, e-mail each other the writing that you want critiqued at the next meeting.
  2. Start each meeting by discussing the progress you've made on your reading and writing goals for the week. Then set new goals for follow-up at the next meeting.
  3. Next, discuss the writing you've previously submitted for critique. Click here for advice on how to critique writing.
  4. If relevant, discuss problems you're facing in your current work; brainstorm about solutions.
  5. Confirm the timing of the next meeting.

Choosing a writing partner

Your writing partner should be a good reader of your work. This means that he or she should be able to understand your goals for your writing and help you reach them.

If you are working on a mystery novel, you don't want a partner who hates mysteries. Nor do you want a partner who has never read a mystery novel in her life and knows nothing about the rules of the genre. You and your partner can be working on very different types of writing projects, but you should each be able to understand and appreciate the kind of writing the other person is doing. And you want a partner whose opinions you respect.

You also need to have compatible communication styles. Talking about creative work can be emotionally charged. If one of you is more blunt than the other, it can lead to hurt feelings. A writing partnership that leaves you confused or discouraged is ultimately counterproductive. A successful writing partnership should help, energize, and inspire you in your work.

Writing Goals - Next Steps

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