Looking to push yourself to achieve your writing goals? A writer partner may be just what you need.
by Steph Auteri
Several months ago, I wrote a blog post calling for a “writing partner who can kick my lazy, procrastinating writer’s a**.”
Now I have a writing partner I love, plus another partner I email my daily goals.
I’ve also left behind a low-paying perma-lance gig that had me feeling stuck. I’m well on my way to making more money this year than I’ve made previously, and I’m feeling more productive and successful than ever before.
Coincidence? I think not.
There are numerous benefits to having a writing partner. Here are my top five:
1. The no-holds-barred criticism
One typically pairs up with a writing partner in order to receive constructive criticism on one’s first (and second, and twenty-fifth) drafts. That way, by the time it gets sent off to an agent or editor, the piece is damn near perfect. Despite being your own worst critic—and even if you’re an obsessive self-editor—it can be beneficial to get an objective opinion of your work. A good writing partner will rip apart your table of contents, take you to task for overusing and mixing metaphors and give you the kind of insight and feedback that could very well elevate your writing to pure awesomeness.
2. The melding of genius minds
Though the words on the page are obviously your highest priority, writing partners can do more than just improve your writing. Choose wisely, and you’ll also have someone with whom you can brainstorm new projects and share valuable tips, contacts and cathartic-to-get-out war stories. After my writing partner and I swap drafts and send back comments and suggested edits, we always have a Skype chat so we can go over our notes in more depth and bounce ideas off each other.
3. The extra motivation
A few weeks ago, I saw a job ad for a freelance teaching position that seemed tailor-made for both my knowledge and my experience. Why didn’t I apply? Because the thought of speaking in front of people makes me simultaneously sweaty and nauseous. I also become light-headed. (In fact, I’ve nearly lost consciousness in several public speaking classes.) My writing partner, however, thought it was the perfect opportunity for me and bullied me into eventually applying. A good writing partner will push you out of your comfort zone—and push you closer to success.
4. The inspiration
Chances are, you and your writing partner won’t be exactly the same. You’ll have different writing niches. Different specialties. Different goals. When you swap manuscripts with someone, and share news with each other of the projects you’ve landed, you’re exposing yourself to something new. Such an arrangement can be a huge source of inspiration and can push you to want to accomplish even more.
5. The much-needed accountability
In the post where I made an open call for a writing partner, I wrote this about accountability: “Accountability is magic. And glitter. And kittens. And (double) rainbows. It’s the type of thing that can get you writing every day, meeting deadlines, achieving dreams, and taking over the world. It can also lead to you earning enough money to buy pretty dresses.”
Before posting my ad for a writing partner, I was desperate for some accountability. Now, I have a weekly query goal and report to my writing partner every week on the queries I’ve sent out and the assignments I’ve landed. I also email my other partner every morning with my daily goals. If he checks in at the end of the day and I haven’t accomplished them, I feel crushing shame. So it’s better just to get it done.
It’s why I’m now drowning in new projects and writing assignments.
Steph Auteri is a career coach for writers and other publishing professionals. Her work has appeared in Playgirl, Time Out New York, Nerve, The Frisky and other publications. She invites you to visit her blog or stalk her on Twitter.