Freelance writers are used to working alone, but they can be great collaborators when their personal and work styles mesh well. Here’s my take on the value of writing partnerships and how to find the right person for your team.
I’ve listed a number of business and personal benefits below. At the end of this post, I give some examples from my own experience with a successful writing partnership.
You can’t determine this from casual contact. You need time to cultivate a relationship with someone before you know they’ll be a good partner. But here are some qualities to look for:
It’s about finding someone whose style and talents complement your own. This kind of alliance can help you improve your own writing by encouraging you to listen consistently to another voice. In a good relationship, you can actually mentor each other.
As a freelancer, choosing to work with someone else can be risky. Always sign a detailed MOU that spells out the scope, responsibilities, deliverables, and schedule. Be specific about the financial arrangements—who pays whom when and how. Include an “escape clause” about ending the arrangement early if it’s not working out.
I frequently work with a talented writer and media consultant, Caitlin Kerk. Caitlin’s training is in journalism. While I started in technical writing, most of my experience is in sales and marketing. However, both of us are good story tellers and we both love the nonprofit sector, where our styles work together well. We’ve collaborated on newsletters, reports on poverty and public health, public relations projects, a curriculum, and social media campaigns. We’re currently scoping a web site and more reports.
As a team, we’ve completed large projects that we could not have done on our own. This has resulted in more work for both of us, and more variety in our work. The partnership has also motivated us to do more marketing and promotion of our businesses, something both of us used to put on the back burner.