In Part 1 of my “Dynamic Duo” series, we covered topics like honesty between co-writers and how to manage obstacles like distance. This week, we’ll uncover more tips and tricks related to the importance of fairness and responsibility between co-writers. Read on for 3 more secrets of a successful writing partnership.
1. Define Your Responsibilities
Before you start a project, sit down and discuss with your partner what your expectations of each other are. Who is responsible for what? How will you divide up the script? Having a clearly defined game plan will a) help avoid conflict and b) make sure that everything is fair. If you’re working on something in which monetary gain is a factor, make sure to document your agreement in a written contract.
2. Network Together
Networking for any artist is a vital part of the process of building a career in the arts. Unfortunately, shyness and social anxiety can make networking a challenging feat and therefore prevent one from obtaining important connections in the industry. However, one of the most beneficial things about having a writing partner is that you will always have someone who can stand by your side and support you when conversing with prospective collaborators and other industry contacts. You’re not just writing a script together; you’re building a career together. Attend workshops, after-parties and other theatrical events and mingle with other artists as a duo every chance you get. Remember to share not only the artistic responsibilities but also the business duties of your partnership.
3. Help Each Other Through Writer’s Block
Every artist fears the dreaded symptoms of writer’s block. It’s not hard to diagnose but can be extremely hard to treat. So what happens when you and your co-writer have a double dose of the artists’ plague? As mentioned in my previous “Dynamic Duos” piece, one of the greatest parts of having a partner to write with is that you have another voice to hear and listen to. Sometimes, my writing partner and I will spend what feels like hours trying to find the perfect line of dialogue. Usually a short break, whether it’s spent together or apart, helps clear the fog between our brains and recharges our senses. If plays are supposed to mirror some part of reality, what better approach to figuring out your script than to have a conversation with your partner? Talk about anything other than the script for as long as you need. This is in no way a guarantee, but I usually find that something in our conversation will click and spark an idea that helps bring focus back to problem. Everyday conversations full of hidden gems can work as antidotes for these artistic stumps.
As it is for any dynamic, the process of creating is unique for every partnership. All these pieces of advice are directly from my own experience working as one half of a writing team, and I hope my experiences will provide anyone in a similar position with some valuable insight into how to achieve artistic success as duo. As I conclude this post, I want to pass along one last piece of advice: No matter how you approach your working relationship, the important thing to remember is to respect not only the art but also each other.
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