Saturday, January 12, 2008

Writing Wisdom - Lesson #2: The Perils of Partners

As all writers are painfully aware, the writing process can be excruciatingly slow, and oftentimes, finding the motivation to actually make progress can become a problem. In some cases then, working with a partner can be a smart move.

In this scenario, writing together can potentially make the entire process so much smoother. When two people collaborate on a project, you're usually less likely to get stuck, as your partner is always there to re-focus you and offer his or her own ideas. You can also divide up the work, assigning certain sections or aspects of your story to each of you in order to expedite your project's progress.

However, despite the undeniable benefits of writing in pairs, I have found a number of problems which can only hinder the creative process and lead to frustration or even disrupt a meaningful friendship.

Now, I'm not even going to pretend to be some kind of expert on this or anything, but let's just say I've had difficulties finding a reliable writing partner. A couple years back, a friend and I were working on a screenplay. We had developed the story, devised an outline, and were about thirty pages in when time began to run out. You see, my friend is now in his second year of med school, and while I totally understand that he did what he had to do and I have zero resentment towards him, part of me is still disappointed that we did all that work and never got anywhere with it. I keep doing my own writing anyway, but I still hope one day we can get back to that script.

As if this one experience with writing partners is not enough, another friend and I have been wanting to get a novel together for the past several months, but once again, life keeps getting in the way. Frustration ensues as the months roll by. Thus far, we've completed a prologue and the very first chapter. That's it. Now he is now planning on trying to get into law school. So the destiny or lack thereof for this project is becoming all too apparent. Again, it's not like I haven't been through this before, but that just makes it suck that much more.

If there's anything I hope to convey with this post, I guess it's this: Having a writing partner can be an awesome experience (so I'm told) and can oftentimes speed up the writing process, but it's important to make sure that your partner is in it for the long haul. You might be all gung-ho for your story, but be careful or you might end up with a lifetime supply of half-written projects that will only take away from your solo efforts.

I'd still love to team up with a writer for a project, but I now know to be more choosy who I work with. I just want to get something finished and out there already! If any of you are willing to collaborate on something this summer, let me know, as I will have much more free time during my hiatus from classes!

ttyl everyone and happy writing,


  1. Too true!

    I've never really collaborated on anyone for anything big aside from high school projects back in the day.

    I don't think I could write a novel with someone...maybe a screenplay...

    but I just don't think a novel would work with a least not for me...

    I'm in a rambling mood today sorry.

    Thanks for the post, Robert!