Writing Collaborations: Are Two Heads Better than One? By Kelly James-Enger

Writing is often considered a solitary profession, and in fact, many writers confess to a certain degree of isolation or loneliness. Perhaps it’s not surprising then that so many writers collaborate on projects. Teaming up with another person can help you improve your craft and boost your chance of success.

But there can be drawbacks to collaborating as well. Read on for a look at the pros and cons of working as part of a team and factors to consider when deciding whether it’s right for you:

Two Heads are Better than One: Benefits of Collaborating

One of the biggest advantages of joining up with another writer is that you can take on a bigger project than you might try alone. Having a writing partner lets you divide the work, and gives you a built-in writing buddy, editor, and source of feedback.

Another benefit is that the two of you may bring different strengths to the table. Maybe you’ve got great ideas but grammar and spelling aren’t your thing. Maybe you need someone to help keep you on track. Or maybe you just love the idea of working with another writer.

Not Seeing Eye to Eye: Drawbacks of Collaborating

However, collaborating can have its downfalls. Writing as a solo author, you make all the writing decisions. With a collaborator, you’re stuck with someone else, for good or bad. What if your coauthor falls behind? What if you want to self-publish while he wants to pursue traditional publishers?

Conflicts about how the piece should be written can arise as well. If you’re writing a novel with another writer, you may disagree about major issues like plot twists or even seemingly insignificant things like character names. And all those disagreements have to be resolved one way or the other.

Before you Shake Hands: Issues to Consider

Before teaming up with another writer, ask whether you trust him or her? Will he be as committed to the work as you are? Do the two of you share the same vision for the project