I’ve done a fair amount of collaborative writing in my life but I find that it’s not something that works for everyone. In fact, I was even quite bad at it as a young adult. Constructive criticism felt more like destructive criticism, and I tended to either never fight for my work or to fight too hard for it. At times in my life, writing with a partner felt like a game of tug of war, with the two of you fighting to gain ground instead of collaborating to create a great story.
While some of my creative partnerships were more fruitful than others, I find that the key to making it work is trusting the person you’re working with. Steve is a very direct writing partner. If he doesn’t like something, he tells me. The trust comes into play because I know that he’s not calling out something I wrote or an idea I had for any reason other than he wants our book to be great. I trust that there’s no ego involved, no tug of war to get his idea into the plot instead of mine.
If you’ve never written with a partner before it’s definitely something I would suggest trying. Writing, in general, is a lonesome undertaking, and having someone to collaborate with really brightens up the journey and lends a little warmth to the long dark nights spent hunched over the keyboard. Just remember to make sure it’s someone you trust and that both of you are approaching it from a place of maturity and are capable of handling criticism, because if you’re not careful collaborating can do some real damage to a friendship.