I’ve been meaning to write about the absolute gem of having a writing partner.
You know – somebody at whom I can throw a first draft of my work, they will read it, and put on their editor’s hat. The best criticism is always “X, Y, and Z suck, because…”. That then gives me a chance to address those issues before I make anything available to a wider audience.
I must be prepared to do exactly the same in return. Everything here is reciprocal. So I am better at editing my own work, thanks to experience suggesting edits to my partner’s.
And I guess that is the first hurdle. Somebody’s writing must not only be good as the finished article, but it must be good enough, as a first draft, to engage me. In that respect, I’m lucky.
I have a vague goal for a partner. Simply, that they “improve” what I write. And they do. 100%. Many times it is just a no-brainer word replacement. Fresh eyes, fresh brain, fresh ideas.
Even if they suggest something and I flatly reject it, they add value, because if it raises a red flag for them, it will likely raise a red flag for other readers, too. It’ll maybe tell me that I’ve been ambiguous, that I probably need to go back and rewrite something to add clarity.
It’s a nice feeling, because they must think I add value, too. They might ask me once, but if I gave bad feedback, they wouldn’t ask again. They’ll be using exactly the same “improve” criteria to judge me, as I am to judge them.
It introduces a time lag, of course, because we both have other lives. We can’t expect each other to just drop everything to read each other’s work. For me, if I can, I will. If I can’t, I can’t. But certainly in the amateur environment in which I write, producing something good is far more important than producing it quickly. And in the case of my partner and I, we do tend to turn things around quite quickly – for me, I look forward to reading their material anyway, and I guess that is mutual. They’ll use overall words like “fun”, where if they didn’t actually think that, there’d be no need to say anything.
We don’t send each other everything. That would probably be too testy. All those limericks I write are entirely my own. And, when I do my weekly “news” post, that’s just regurgitating something I already read. But anything creative, fiction of any length, poetry sometimes (although a lot of my poetry I want to keep private), having a partner comes into its own.
I write for fun. Strictly amateur, so I don’t really feel like I am in a position to give advice. I can just say that I feel both my writing and my editing have improved because I have a partner. I just think I can’t be the only one.