Biz Ladies: Part 2 — How to Find Your Ideal Writing Partner

Illustration by David Saracino

Today’s Biz Ladies post is the second part of Danielle LaPorte and Linda Sivertsen’s series on getting your book published. In Part 1, Danielle and Linda offered advice on starting the book publishing process, and today they share tips on how to find that perfect writing partner/editor to help formulate and focus the project. Thanks, Danielle and Linda, for another great post! — Stephanie

Read the full post after the jump . . .

Get a writing buddy, and get perspective. Because really, who wants to go it alone?

A few tips to finding your ideal writing partner:

1. If you can’t find a collaborator or a friend amongst your social networks, contacts and colleagues to read your work, consider posting an ad: “Writer seeks creative partner.”

And, just as you’d “interview” a potential boyfriend or girlfriend or business partner, do the same for a writing buddy. Ask questions like, What types of books do you read? What movies do you like? What do you do for fun? So much of any partnership is about having fun. Pick a buddy you can laugh with.

2. Opposites do attract.

“I think collaborations are much more successful when people have different strengths,” says Peter Tolan (writer of Analyze This, Analyze That). “The best collaborations are when you shore each other’s weaknesses up.” So true.

3. Know thyself.

Marshall Brickman and Woody Allen (Annie Hall, Manhattan) understood their complementary strengths. “I tend to be somewhat more bound by logic than Woody Allen,” Brickman explains, “and I say that as a criticism of me rather than of him. His approach to a problem or material in general is more intuitive than mine. I like to kind of back into things logically; he seems to have a genius for making some kind of intuitive leap which defies logic but solves the problem.”

Find a partner who knows herself, too, and it’ll only make your writing that much stronger.

4. Work with someone who plays nice . . .

All loving partners argue occasionally. Disagreement is an invaluable component in the collaborative process. Be open to criticism and be willing to kill your most treasured material. Sometimes the gems we grip the tightest need to be tossed.

Finding someone who can kindly tell you something sucks is key. Seek a buddy without a suffering artist complex or rampant father issues — unless those inform the writing in a positive way (which can happen!).

5. . . . and someone who can be tough.

Working with a strong partner can make you a better writer. Sitting around a café working on your creative writing can lead people to just tell you nice things. If you’re not getting that kind of effectual objectivity from a group or writing partner, then you need to pay for it by getting a writing coach.

Ultimately, collaboration is like any relationship — friendship, marriage, partnership — in that quality communication is your goal. Our suggestion is to start the writing relationship with an open-door policy, adding, contributing and helping each other as you work to tighten your skills.

Start small. The journey of any collaboration begins with one article, one book and one cup of tea at a time.

Yours in creative collaboration!
Danielle + Linda

  1. Mary says:

    Wonderful! Just wonderful! Sound advice for a writer. Now if only I could force myself to stop having so much fun and doing more writing about fun! ha!

  2. Ra says:

    any pointers for fiction writers?

  3. amber says:

    I’m a professional writer and editor and I can’t emphasise enough how important it is for writers and editors — even professional ones! — to have a writing and editing buddy for accountability, fresh insights, moral support, and boot-up-the-backsiding. I love the advice here: finding the right person is really important.

  4. Hey RA, how’s about starting a small writing group where you can share snippets/chapters with your group, and give feedback? Writing buddies work for you too!


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