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This month The Atlantic published The Power of Two—an article about the Beatles’ Paul McCartney and John Lennon and the genius that came from their writing partnership.

It got me thinking.

About great partnerships. About great marriages. About the concept of working with someone else to bring your work or your life to the next level. Most of us—myself included—push through our writing projects alone. But have we got it all wrong? Should be we be writing with someone else?

Beatles

Photo by The Atlantic

A Writing Partner Provides Balance

Think about a time when you and another person “just clicked” on a project. What was it about the partnership that made it work so well? I have a guess.

Balance.

Great partners balance each other out in significant ways. Sometimes it’s just a personality thing—one has unyielding passion, the other the discipline. Other times it’s technical—I’m good at structure while you’re skilled at crafting the details. Either way, when the final product is completed—and great—there is a sense one could not have achieved it without the other.

I don’t think such an experience is limited to two writers working together. Such greatness can be achieved between writer and editor, for example, as well.

Still, for the most part writers are willing to work with an editor. They are less open to the idea of actually writing with another person. But what if a partner is all you need to get out of your slump?

A Writing Partner Can Inspire You

How many blog posts have we written at The Write Practice about finding inspiration? Or maintaining it as we approach the midpoint of our manuscripts? The other things going on in our lives—jobs, family drama, etc.—often leave us feeling unmotivated to write.

Hearing another person’s thoughtful ideas on a regular basis or seeing them work their magic can be inspiring. If you’ve found a talented match, he or she will come up with ideas you never would have thought of—and they will work. You partner will tweak your prose in a way that actually does make it better or teach you techniques that you’ve struggled with for years simply by their example.

And you will do the same for them.

It’s inspiring to see someone else at work and to be appreciated for yours.

A Writing Partner Provides Companionship

Let’s face it, the process of writing can be a solitary one. At some point we get to interact with people—conferences, book signings, writing groups–but we can’t escape the hours upon hours alone in front of our computers.

A writing partner can provide companionship both with their physical presence and via the mental connection you have formed by working together.

Of course solitary periods of writing will not completely go away; however, if you’re working with another person, you will have to meet with them regularly to make sure you’re on the same page. Also, it’s comforting to know that someone else understands this crazy concept you’re trying to produce, including all of its nuances and details.

Tell me about some great creative partnerships. Tell me about some great personal ones. Why do you think they worked?

PRACTICE

Let’s work together! Take fifteen minutes to write a creative piece and share it below. OR take fifteen minutes to continue a piece that another reader of The Write Practice has shared. See if you have produced greatness!

Monica M. Clark
Monica M. Clark
Monica is a lawyer trying to knock out her first novel. She lives in D.C. but is still a New Yorker. You can follow her on her blog or on Twitter (@monicamclark).
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