I had a few questions and emails from people after my last post, so I thought I’d expand on my advice here. Enjoy your writing partner primer:
Where to Find a Writing Partner
Writing forums — Critique sites
Makes sense to find writers in their natural habitat.
Online/in person workshops
Best place to meet someone and get a feel for how well you could work together. Not strictly necessary (Pam and I have never met in person), but helpful if you’re hesitant. Pam and I met in an online workshop where there were around sixty or so other writers participating. I get credit for picking her out of the line up. I saw she’d finished a novel and was ready to jump into another. Her dedication to writing was evident in her bio. I didn’t hesitate to send her an email pronto to beg her to be my partner. Our partnership has lasted a lot longer than the two month class.
Same as above only usually on a much larger scale. Most workshops I’ve been to are small, usually less than a dozen people. Cons are hundreds or thousands of writers. Some you’ll have met online first and can then meet in person before making the huge writing partner leap.
At your Local Coffee Shop
It could happen. Someone who lives in the same area could be searching for YOU!
What to Look For
Personally, I think the best match is someone who is at the same commitment level. Like I mentioned before, Pam and I have different daily goals, but we’re both equally committed to doing a little work every day (which is why we update daily).
Find someone you can work with long term. Personality is key! Their skill level isn’t important and subjective anyway. I’ve written about this before to new writers, but sometimes people are concerned that they should only befriend “good writers” and I’ll tell you: that horrible, no-good writer everyone thinks won’t ever sell will be just as likely to become a bestseller as anyone else. It’s persistence, willingness to work on getting better that matters. Pick the person who is dedicated and has the most compatible personality. You can’t go wrong.
How to Structure the Partnership
Most of this will evolve organically, but once you find a person at the same dedication level to a creative career as you, the next step is to decide how often/when you’ll update each other and what each person will do to keep each other on track.
Pam and I update daily. The format looks something like this:
We praise the other person’s accomplishments from the email before. Did they reach their daily goal? Make a huge deal about that. Did they fall short? Help them dust themselves off and start the next day with a fresh start. Does your partner need a pick-me-up? A kick-in-the-pants? Next you state your goals. The conversations don’t need to be long. Sometimes we only have two sentences. Sometimes it’s longer depending on how things are going.