How Collaboration in Writing Partnerships Can Elevate Your Writing – The Urban Writers

The Power of Collaboration: How Working With Others Can Elevate Your Writing

Author collaboration, when done well, will help you elevate your writing. Let's look at how collaboration in writing works and why writing partnerships are a good way to go.

Why Author Collaboration Works

You may be thinking an author collaboration is a waste of time, and surely you can just do the work yourself. But when you develop the right writing partnerships, it really does improve your work. Collaboration in writing won't dilute your work; it will enhance it.

A good writing partner means:

  • You'll have someone who can give you constructive feedback on your work.
  • Your fellow author will help you elevate your writing.
  • You will get a different perspective and approach to storytelling.
  • You'll get to enjoy working with another creative with the same goals!

Author Collaboration

Different Aspects of Collaboration in Writing

What exactly goes into the collaboration, then? For the most part, you are going to have two or more people writing and reviewing each other's writing. The ultimate goal of this is so you can produce a piece of work together. This could either be something like a script or series of fiction books you want to publish, an academic paper, or a non-fiction work that requires a lot of research.

In a writing partnership, the work is shared, but that doesn't mean there is less of it! Author collaboration still involves brainstorming, planning, research, writing, rewriting, and editing, and then there's a decision to be made on the publishing side of things. So you're still going to have a lot to do, but the idea is that you are pairing with someone to elevate your writing.

So first up, there's brainstorming and planning what you are writing. It can be really helpful to bounce ideas off another person to get their perspective. This way, you can build the pieces of your book together. If you are writing a fiction work, it really does help flesh out the plot and characters if you get somebody else's perspective. Sometimes we get stuck trying to figure out how to make an idea work, but a fresh pair of eyes may have the answers. In the brainstorming phase, you are just trying to get every idea out there on paper and see what works.

Then it comes to actually sitting down and writing the book (a scary thought for a lot of writers!). This still involves putting your head down and doing the work, but the difference is that you will exchange work with your partner and provide each other feedback on what is working and what isn't, as well as where you are going to go from each point. In a writing partnership, sometimes writing and editing are kind of mixed together; the book will still need to be formally edited, but you are also doing little bits of editing (or at least revision) as you go along.

When it comes to decisions at the publishing end of things like whether to sign up with a traditional or hybrid publisher [LINK HYBRID PUBLISHING ARTICLE], that's a decision you will take together. The same goes for things like cover design.
So writing a book collaboratively still involves all the usual work, but you're sharing the work with someone and writing the book as a team.

Starting a Writing Partnership

So we know author collaboration can be a good idea, especially for projects that require creativity. But how do you get started?

Before you ask someone to be your writing partner you need to ask yourself what you want. To be clear, you don't need to have all the details figured out, and you will of course do a lot of the planning with your partner. But you need some basic loose ideas. If you're writing fiction in particular you need to have some rough clues about the themes you want to touch upon, the types of personalities your characters will have, and loosely what genre and subgenre you want to work inside. With genre you don't have to be completely married to a particular set of tropes or conventions, but it's important to have an idea of the type of story you want to tell. If one of you wants to write a futuristic science fiction story while one of you wants to write a realistic story set in medieval times then it is not going to work.

When you have thought about the kind of story you'd like to write, you can find someone who is interested in doing something similar. And remember, each author's collaboration can be different, so it's not like you have to partner with someone who matches every single one of your interests. You may have lots of ideas for stories to tell, but you are not going to tell every story in one book. It is easy for creatives to fall into the trap of trying to cover too much in their story and be tempted to find a place for everything they are interested in, but that can mean the project becomes too big and loses focus. When it comes to collaboration in writing, it's good to have a specific focus and a narrowed-down view of the project you want to work on, and both writers in the partnership need to be clear on what that view is. So when finding the right person to collaborate with, don't be concerned if the entirety of the list of books they want to write is not completely in sync with yours; you just need to have the same idea about this one specific project (although you could ultimately end up writing more together).

So what else is important to consider when choosing a writing partner? Well, while you need to have the same goals, it's helpful to bring different things to the table. Working with someone who complements your skill set will elevate your writing, and you will elevate theirs. There's no point in starting a writing partnership with someone who is the exact same as you and does not offer anything different. One of you might be better with dialogue, while the other might be better with descriptions. This is a good thing because it means that together you will be able to build a well-fleshed-out masterpiece.

From a practical point of view, you need to be able to agree on a schedule and a way of working on things. Are you going to meet up once a week and write together? Or are you going to write separately in your own time and share your work at various points? There's no one right way to do it but you need to have a plan and make a schedule.

And one crucial thing for all writing partnerships is that you both have to be able to commit to seeing out the project; otherwise, instead of a bestseller, you'll be left with a bunch of notepads full of ideas but nothing tangible to show for it.

Golden Rules for Collaborative Writing

Interpersonal relationships of all kinds can have aspects that are difficult to navigate. Working with others is often rewarding but can also be challenging. Here are six basic rules to follow to ensure author collaboration works out as well as it can for you:

  1. Find the right people to work with. You may be tempted to just pair up with your best friend, who you get along well with socially, but make sure you can actually work well together too. It can be dangerous for your friendship if you work with a friend who is not in sync with your work style, as it can lead to you falling out. However, you also don't want to find yourself working with someone with whom you have a difficult time; that would be like having your brain fried!
  2. Think about what everyone involved is strong at when deciding who will do what. This is similar to the last point: People can be really good at one thing but struggle with other things, so it's important to delegate roles and jobs correctly. The best way to do this is to have an honest discussion with those involved. You may find some people are only really suited to one particular part of the project, while on the other hand, you could have somebody who has a variety of skills and can do many jobs. Depending on the number of people involved, you may be able to divide up tasks so that each has a specific focus.
  3. Make sure everyone gets to give their input. In writing partnerships, there are going to be a lot of different ideas, and you may not agree with them all. But it's still important to respect the fact that people have differing opinions and to allow people to be heard. Sometimes writers could pitch an idea that doesn't fully work, but maybe it can be used in a different way, so stay open minded! Getting someone else's point of view can help elevate your writing.
  4. When giving feedback to each other, frame it in a positive way. A big part of collaboration in writing is giving feedback, and sometimes people can think they are too important to be nice, but this is never the case. In an environment where you are working with others, it is important to be respectful and mindful of other people's feelings. Morale will go right down if you are providing feedback in a rude, nasty way, and people will not want to work with you. For feedback to be constructive, instead of saying "this is bad," phrase it as "this could be improved by," because then it sounds like you are trying to help rather than just insulting someone's work. Before you provide feedback, stop and think about what a nicer way of saying something would be, and always add in a positive comment.
  5. Give people credit for their work throughout the process. It is really disheartening for others if they are not acknowledged for what they have done or if one person takes all the credit. A simple "good job" or "thank you" goes a long way toward making people feel like they are a valuable part of the team. And when the writing project is finished, make sure everyone is given credit for the part they played.
  6. Stick to the schedule and commit. Teams fall apart when people don't do their bit to make them work. While life sometimes gets in the way, it is really important that everyone involved in the project gives the right amount of time and energy. And as for sticking to the schedule, it's a case of respecting each other's time. Now and then, the schedule may need to be revised or adjusted if things change, but there is no room for laziness or a bad work ethic.

Follow these six rules for writing collaboration and you will be able to develop successful writing partnerships.

Collaboration in Writing

Elevate Writing With Dibbly Create

When you work with us at Dibbly | The Urban Writers, you have built in writing partnerships with a custom team of everyone you need. We'll be able to find you a vetted ghostwriter and editor who can fit your project perfectly. But crucially, we have our innovative tool for author collaboration, Dibbly Create.

Through using our services you can collaborate in real time with your team, and by using Dibbly Create you get real time human-AI collaboration. We've embraced AI as a tool that can help inspire creators to elevate their writing. Dibbly Create also helps you research projects and generate ideas. And along the way you'll be helped by your little buddy KIP.
Dibbly Create is where ideas are born and Dibbly | The Urban Writers is the best platform around for building a team of freelancers to make your writing dreams come true.

Final Thoughts

Collaboration in writing can elevate your writing and inspire you creatively, so consider forming some writing partnerships for future projects.


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