Blog | Oct 15, 2010 | 3 Comments

[creating a writing team]

[ways to know it will work]

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.

Why form a writing 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.

How do you identify the right partner for writing projects?

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:

Remember, it’s not about finding a clone of yourself.

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.

But wait – a few cautions.

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.

My own partnership success story.

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.

Your turn: do you partner with anyone? If not, can you think of anyone who might make a good partner for a specific project or line of work?

Author: Claire Wagner

I'm a seasoned freelance writer/editor and an enthusiastic community manager. I'm passionate about developing and sharing good content.

3 Comments

“Remember, it’s not about finding a clone of yourself. It’s about finding someone whose style and talents complement your own.”

I was watching a lecture on entrepreneurship from Yale and one of the business ladies said exactly this. Great advice. I think a lot of it can be applied to forming any kind of business relationship.

Keep up the good work Claire!

[Reply]

Claire Wagner Reply:

Thank you, Steven! A lot of us who work alone forget to look for these opportunities. Now my horizons have broadened to include work I would not have found or been able to do on my own.

[Reply]

Steven

10/15/2010

Folks, I should also mention that if the partnership doesn’t work out, you should not break the freelancers’ code of ethics and go to work directly for a client to whom your former partner introduced you. That’s poaching. Most experienced freelancers know this but I thought I’d bring it up anyway.

[Reply]

Claire Wagner

10/15/2010

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