- On January 8, 2019
Writing is hard, even for people like me who make a living doing it, so sometimes it helps to have a writing partner. I’m not talking about an editor who reviews your final drafts for focus and clarity or a proofreader who checks for typos. I’m referring to someone you can collaborate with, step by step, on the thinking, organizing, and writing.
Here are three things a writing partner can help you do:
Nail the storyline (in plain English). It’s important to talk your ideas out loud—and preferably not to yourself. When you articulate your thoughts to someone, you quickly arrive at what you want your readers to take away, land on natural-sounding language, and identify a logical flow. Remember, if your writing is muddy, it’s because your thinking is muddy.
Fill in the gaps. I write a lot about healthcare, but I’m not steeped in every aspect of it. I frequently collaborate with someone who knows things I don’t. I rely on her technical knowledge and sense of story, and she’d be the first to say I make her thoughts sound better. It’s best if your partner’s skills complement yours, not replicate them. I love it when she cuts through a jumble of thoughts and pronounces, “I hear the story this way.” And then my fingers fly across the keyboard. It’s a rush—kind of like calling your lifeline on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” and winning the jackpot.
Get to the finish line—faster. If you have a writing partner, you’ll be editing each other’s work as you go, which speeds up the editing and proofing stage. In a fast-paced business world—where everything is due yesterday—this is invaluable.