Tinder for Writers?

November 2, 2022 § 10 Comments

Using Reddit to find a writing partner.

By Michael Anthony

Years ago, I was single, alone, and staring at my computer screen. I had a big decision to make: Send the Message or Don’t Send the Message. It was my first attempt at dating online—an unusual concept at the time—and as the minutes of doubt ticked away, I sighed to myself, “Why the hell not?” 

Overall, my foray into online dating worked out quite well (which I won’t go into here). But the thing is, when years later I was looking for a writing partner, I thought for sure it had to be someone I met in person. I figured it would be too weird to not “vibe-check” physically and thus wouldn’t have that same literary spark—which I oddly felt more a necessity for a writing partner than a romantic one. 

I imagined dozens of meet-cute literary scenarios: running into someone at a coffee shop, glancing at each other’s screens from across our tables, seeing what the other needed in their story; or going to a poetry reading and connecting so deeply with each other’s poems that we instantly start working together.

And I tried, I really tried to meet a writing partner in person. I had degrees in writing, which gave me a wide network of writerly friends, and yes, I attended writing conferences, and yes, I went to local writing groups at libraries and from MeetUp.com. And yeah, sure, I ended up having a few tawdry one-night-stand writing sessions. A couple of song lyrics strung together, some poetry verses read, an outline for a short story written, but none of it meant anything. 

Everything changed one day as I was browsing Reddit (a forum-based website). I saw a post about people looking for “Writing Collaborators,” and there in front of me was a piece of artistic work so beautifully crafted I fell in love. I knew nothing of the creator, who they were, where they lived, their age, gender, education, work, or publishing background; all I knew was that it was “love at first sight,” and even though I’d be batting out of my league, I once again sighed, “Why the hell not?” and sent a message.

I made it short: “I like your stuff, are you still looking for a writing partner?” And before I knew it, I had a message back and then we were moving from Reddit to Instagram to Gmail and, eventually, phone. One thing led to another, and I asked them to partner on a project and they said … yes! Within a few months of that “Yes!” we got an agent together, and a few months afterward a book deal for our graphic memoir: Just Another Meat-Eating Dirtbag: A Memoir.

The point is though, none of it would’ve happened had I not first opened up to the idea of where I could find a writing partner, and what that partnership could look like. And if it can happen for me, then it can happen for you, too, with just a few simple steps: 

  1. Open yourself up to the idea of searching for someone who might not live close; the wider you open yourself up, the more you’ll be able to base your decisions on something besides proximity. Since a Tinder/Bumble for writers does not currently exist, I recommend Reddit (far better than Goodreads forums and Facebook pages): there are groups for everyone, e.g., R/ComicBookCollabs (where I met my partner), R/WriteWithMe, R/Writers, and the larger general group R/Writing. And if a sub group doesn’t exist for what you’re looking for, then start it!

2. Be clear what you’re looking for but open yourself up to the possibility that the perfect partner might be the opposite of what you assume you want, i.e., not local, older/younger, different background, etc.

3. When you do find a potential partner, approach from a place of respect—both for their work, and for their time.

4. Remember that “No means No”: if a prospective writing partner says “no” then just move on.

5. Don’t give up on your search! I spent years looking for a writing partner and you might spend years too—but know that the right partner is worth the wait.

6. When you do find a possible partner, start with an outline for a short story, or go over a few paragraphs; don’t dive right into agreeing to write a book together, take it slow.

Keep up the search and I know you’ll find a writing partner you enjoy and respect just as much as I enjoy and respect mine, the great Chai Simone.

___

Michael Anthony is the author of the graphic memoir Just Another Meat-Eating Dirtbag, and the award-winning and acclaimed memoirs Civilianized and Mass Casualties. His work has appeared widely across the web in various publications and formats. He holds an MFA in creative writing from Lesley University and is a volunteer for the Veterans Writing Project. He tweets and does the website thing.  

Chai Simone is Michael’s writing partner. She is a writer, artist, film aficionado and the illustrator for their graphic memoir Just Another Meat-Eating Dirtbag. She can be found on Instagram.

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§ 10 Responses to Tinder for Writers?

  • Andrea A Firth says:

    Great resource-thanks

  • Hi Andrea, thanks for the comment and glad to see that you like the resources. Reddit can be a great place to find a writing partner (or any type of creative partner), it can be a bit of a daunting place if you’re not familiar with it, but I know people who’ve been business partners there, music partners, even beer brewing partners! If you’re looking for a partner of your own good luck in the search!

  • stacyeholden says:

    I really want to find a writing partner or group to just develop my work in conversation with someone else!

    • Hi Stacey! There are lots of options, just make sure to consider a virtual writing partner too (in case in person doesn’t work out). For in person, start by checking out MeetUp.com and see if there are any local writing groups; your nearest library is good to check out too, you can look at the public notice section to see if anyone has posted about a writing group and you can ask the librarian if they know any groups (many groups meet at the library). There are also local writing conferences you can attend.

      For virtual and online writing partners, Facebook groups and GoodReads forums are an option, but I personally recommend Reddit due to useability and audience size.

      If you go the Facebook route do a Facebook search for a specific genre, IE: Romance, Thrillers, Graphic Memoirs, Young Adult, Children’s, etc.

      On GoodReads forum just go to their Beta-Readers forum and answer a post looking for an exchange or create your own post.

      For Reddit, search for a specific writing group/genre (or the general ones listed above) and become part of the community! If the writing group that you’re looking for doesn’t exist, then start it!

  • Mike Parsons says:

    great content mate! Simple, fun, and helpful

  • Yoglica says:

    I really loved the title “Tinder for Writers?” Nice article. Keep up the work. Thanks

  • Reddit is a place I’ve avoided. The very few times I’ve ventured onto Reddit, I quickly became overwhelmed and shut down. After reading your essay, I guess I’ll be checking it out again 😉

    • Hi Marie, Reddit can definitely be an overwhelming place. I would recommend joining a handful of SubReddit forums that you like and then ignore/block the rest. The great thing is that the subforums can be super niche, so if there’s a hobby that you thought only you enjoyed (like, writing Seinfeld fan-fiction) but then find out there’s a forum with like 5,000 people who enjoy the same thing, then it’s like finding “your people.”

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