Tag Archives: friendship

5 Suggestions When Collaborating With Another Writer

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We all know that writing can be a pretty solitary act, but sometimes it’s fun to switch things up a bit and write in collaboration. Seriously, it can be fun; and it worked for Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs.

I tried writing collaboratively only once before, with an ex-girlfriend who is a formidable writer in her own regard (click here to see a sample of her work). It didn’t work out so well. We were working on a piece of alternative literature, with her writing from the female perspective and me writing from the male perspective. It fizzled out after a mere two chapters each.

If you want to collaborate with another writer, here are five suggestions to make the process go smoothly:

1. Plan an outline. Make sure that you and your writing partner both know where the story is going.

2. Be professional. Whether the person you’re writing with is a spouse, lover, or best friend, as far as your work together goes, make sure that you both hold yourselves to a professional standard.

3. Personal chemistry. If you don’t like a fellow writer (and writers hate being around other writers as a general rule) don’t work with them.

4. Literary chemistry. If you write like Kerouac and your partner writes like Woolf, make sure that you two can come to an interesting juxtaposition or don’t start at all.

5. Don’t be too critical. It takes time to turn first drafts into quality writing. Don’t be too critical of your partner. Don’t bite their head off if they miss a deadline. People produce their best work when they don’t get the whip cracked on them.

I hope these suggestions prove to be helpful to you in your writing career!

Friends and Lovers

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“Writing is a lonely job. Having someone who believes in you makes a lot of difference. They don’t have to makes speeches. Just believing is usually enough.”
― Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

If you’ve seriously committed yourself to your writing, by the very nature of the task, you will have to have to spend a great deal of time working alone. If you’re fortunate enough to be a full-time writer, you may have no reason to come into contact with anyone, other than at readings, when networking with other writers, or perhaps through meetings with an agent or publishing representatives. If you have a job or are in school, the bulk of your time away from your professional responsibilities may very well be spent writing.

To join the literary game, to get readers to discover your writing, to get publishers to take you seriously, to maybe make a bit of money from your writing, you need to be serious about work and make writing a consistent part of your life. However, sometimes writers can take their profession so seriously that they become recluses, avoiding friends, disregarding or not seeking out lovers, and distancing themselves from supportive family.

I urge all writers to try to find a balance between their non-writing obligations, their writing, and their life and the people who love them. You’re not a machine, you’re a person. You need love, the same as anyone else. You have to embrace the love around you, not run from it because you have a “greater task.”

The isolation will destroy you. It’s not tenable over the long haul for producing good writing either.

Make sure that you value your loved ones. In a solitary profession like ours, they can be your cheerleaders and confidantes, but it’s not just about you. Humans are social creatures. Scientists have proven that without love, your DNA becomes damaged over time. Embrace the love. It will keep you whole.

How do you balance your writing, your professional obligations, and your relationships? Have you ever had any problems doing so?