What is a writing partnership?

Recently we shared reason why writers enter into partnership to improve their work. Today we’re discussing,

What is a writing partnership? 

If you want someone to read and comment on your writing, you ought to give back something of equal value. In a writing partnership, you each spend time alone, writing. Then you meet, and you each read and comment on the others’ writing. It’s fair.

Some partners/groups meet weekly, others meet bi-weekly, monthly or quarterly. Decide on a schedule and a meeting place/time. Then stick to it. Some groups function entirely through email/internet. Others thrive on a face-to-face connection.

If you don’t want to work with a writing partner/group, you can always pay someone–an instructor or an editor, to help you improve your writing.

A partnership is easier on the wallet than an editor or an instructor. It’s a bartering arrangement.

How do you feel about letting others comment on your writing? Is it easier to take a critique from a writer you know or from an editor you don’t know?



    1. It’s always beneficial for a writer to work with an experienced (and kind-hearted) editor or writing mentor who is not personally involved in the writer’s life. It does, however, require much courage from the writer. We have never met a writer who doesn’t feel personally hurt and defensive after his/her first professional editorial critiques.

      It’s very difficult to separate oneself emotionally from the words on the page, to understand that the critique is not about the writer or his life, but about how the words, independent of the writer, work to communicate with a reader, and how they could be more effective. It’s so difficult to be objective when one is also passionately involved with the message.

      But dispassionate writers make boring writers. We want to work with passionate writers. But not all of them are willing or able to sufficiently detach themselves from their work to receive the most helpful editorial feedback. Those who can accept it and use it to improve their writing are the ones who become stronger, more effective communicators.

      When we offer feedback, we try to be extremely sensitive to the writer, to where he/she is the journey toward professionalism in publishing, but it is not always easy to discern when a writer is ready to hear something, or how much feedback he or she can handle at one time. We believe it takes time, and is worth the effort, to build a trusting editor/writer relationship.

      We also believe that writers are generally born writers. Those who have the impulse to write, who use writing as a method of finding out how they feel and what they think, who discover that their lives are diminished when they’re not writing, are writers. The skills of writing are acquired through practice and training; but the heart of a writer is, we believe, God-given.

  1. I’ve never written a book, but I have two friends who do this for each other. Once a year they take a writing trip away from chilly Canada to somewhere warmer and write and edit each others’ work.

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