Linda Maye Adams

Should You Write with a Cowriter? The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Have you ever thought about writing with a cowriter?  Several years back, I was approached by an acquaintance about cowriting, and I jumped at the chance.  Initially, it was a fun experience.  Writing is such a solitary thing, and here, we could bounce ideas back and forth and simply enjoy the writing.
Barefoot Asian woman seated on a beach, laptop resting on her legs, and she smiles and writes.
But then it turned into a major disaster and imploded — while we had a finished manuscript on full out to an agent.  I was never more glad for a rejection!
Here’s are the lessons learned I came away with:
  • The Good:  It forced me to do the one thing I really needed to do: Shelf the old project and start on a new one.  I’m not sure I would have if I hadn’t been motivated by cowriter to start a new book.  And I finished the new book!
  • The Bad:  I agreed to it for the wrong reasons.  I’d spent years struggling to get subplots into my story.  I could see it needed them, but they didn’t evolve naturally for me (and still don’t.  I can only get them on after a lot of revision).   When cowriter approached me knowing my difficulties with subplots and saying he was strong in that area, I jumped at the opportunity.
  • The Ugly:  Because I figured my problem was solved by cowriting, I didn’t learn what I was doing wrong.  Consequently, after we broke up I still had the same problems, and it was possible I’d made them worse!  I’d gotten better as a writer in some areas, which helped to further mask the problem.  It took several years of hard work — work I’d wished I done sooner — to understand what I was doing to cause the problems.
Would I do it again?  No.  One of the things I learned while I was working through the long-standing problems was that I’m probably not the best choice to work with someone else on a creative project.  My muse often takes strange paths that would stretch the patience of anyone!
For you:  Have you ever considered cowriting?  If so, what’s your reasoning behind it?  If you’re cowriting, what’s have been your experiences, good and bad?  Post your comments below.


  1. anshakotyk

    I’ve co-written. A short story recently with a critique partner and friend and loved the process. We brainstormed together, chose which pieces to write, revised together and compromised to get a positive final result. It was a wonderful experience to watch the word count rack up so quickly, to bounce ideas off each other and create something that was a shared creation not wholly one or the others.
    Both of us chose to co-write, to challenge ourselves and to share a different story.
    Would I do it again? Yes.



  1. Top 10 Blog Posts for May « Linda Adams
%d bloggers like this: