Friday, 22 April 2016

What is it like working with a writing partner?

People often ask us, “what it is like working with a writing partner?” so we thought we’d (finally) answer...

How do M&J work together? What’s the process look like?

We pitch ideas to each other and hash out which of them we are most excited about. Then we establish a priority order to the projects we want to tackle and we dive in. We take two ideas/projects at a time and create a detailed ‘beat sheet’ together for each project. The beat sheets then serve as road maps, as we split off and separately write first drafts.

Next we swap drafts and each do a second pass (on the other person’s first draft) still being mindful to stay on course by using the established beat sheets. We do a third draft for each project together and discuss where to go from there (how much more work we think is needed, whether it’s ready for trusted feedback etc.) All along the way, we discuss major story changes but the details are left to the current writer of each draft. In this way we are able to consistently expand our portfolio at an efficient pace.

We combine our unique talents to produce material that is greater than the sum total of its parts and by the time we have a draft worthy of advancing to the next stage, we no longer know who came up with what, as each piece blossoms to life and breathes for itself.

What are some of the benefits to working with your business partner?

- Two brains are better than one without there being too many cooks in the kitchen
- Avoiding cliches and tropes (see above)  *hardy har har  - J
- Someone to share successes and failures with

- A sounding board
- A date for networking events (*see 7 Tips For Networking As An Introvert)
- Accountability - I refuse to let her down, so in turn, I don’t let myself down

What qualities attracted you to your business partner? In other words, 'why her'?

J on ‘why’ she chose M
- She is a loyal person
- She is extremely communicative and articulate
- She is honest and fair

M on ‘why’ she chose J
- She is so easy to talk to and empathetic
- She is a powerhouse of creativity
- She is loyal

What advice do you have to people who are thinking of partnering?

- Contracts are good, they provide clarity up-front which avoids future issues (and is a fail-safe if issues do arise)
- When in doubt over communicate - the more you talk and hash it out the easier it is to nip things in the bud
- Discuss possible deal-breakers - this relationship is similar to a marriage so it’s important to know upfront what constitutes a betrayal for each of you.

Overall, it is important for both of you to feel comfortable, confident, and happy with your work / workflow.

 - M&J

*Dear Reader, Happy Earth Day! We hope you find your 'person' (like we have) and put the above tools to use - we do so quite often, in fact, we 'over communicated' this morning. - J&M


  1. This is REALLY GOOD! It's main points can be applied to any productive relationship. Thanks for writing it.

    1. Thank you so much! What a wonderful compliment. Thank you for reading and for this lovely comment.

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© M&J
Maira Gall