Help Me Find a Partner

Comments 24


My wife would get frustrated with me because sometimes I don’t finish things.

It’s a pattern that reemerges in my life repeatedly. A new idea captures my attention. I obsess about it. I dive right in, fully immersing myself in it, sometimes at the expense of other things.

I think that became exhausting for her because she isn’t that way.

I think she saw it as a sign of immaturity and lack of discipline.

I know she saw it as a weakness.

Discovering Strengths

I participated yesterday in a self-assessment program called StrengthsFinder, a program run by The Gallup Organization (the polling institution) designed to help people better understand their strengths and behaviors.

Strictly from a personality-profile standpoint, it reaffirmed what I already knew about myself.

Strength #1 – I am inquisitive.

I have a naturally curious mind. I collect information. I crave and pursue knowledge. I tend to collect things that interest me. I am interested in many things, so I am constantly trying to learn new things.

Strength #2 – I love meeting people and making friends.

I love meeting strangers and learning about them. I want to discover common interests and build connections. There is no such thing as too many friends.

Strength #3 – I am fascinated by new ideas.

“You are delighted when you discover beneath the complex surface an elegantly simple concept to explain why things are the way they are,” my assessment report said.

No sentence in the history of the written word has more accurately described me. It is the very premise on which the majority of this blog’s content is based.

Strength #4 – I am hopeful and fascinated by the future.

I dream of every aspect of life being better in the future than it is now. It is that vision for my future and the future of those close to me that drives me each day. I am a dreamer. And I pursue those dreams. But, sometimes…

Strength #5 – I have an inherent need to start a new project or hobby.

I am interested in many new things, and when something captivates me, I need to be a part of it and throw myself into it. That makes me awesome at idea generation and starting exciting new adventures, but that also lends itself to me “quitting” things in favor of chasing the next dream that has captured my intense interest.

Something dawned on me very quickly as I evaluated my results and contemplated their meaning.

Everyone has a very different, very specific combination of strengths. And when those strengths don’t jibe exactly with our individual goals, or don’t align with our strengths, we can convince ourselves that…

Lack of Strength = Weakness

And that’s a lie. A lack of strength is an opportunity.

My ex-wife can be very shy. She is sometimes not a good networker or can come across as unfriendly because of her shyness and general preference for surrounding herself with a few close friends and leaning heavily on them.

And I might be guilty of thinking of my wife’s shyness as a weakness, instead of properly identifying her strength as a loyal friend who builds super-tight bonds with those closest to her.

Similarly, my wife thought I was undisciplined and flighty instead of recognizing what I actually have is a strong ability to generate new ideas and passionately pursue new challenges.

Our individual strengths are hardwired into every one of us.

I Want to Write Books

As you can imagine, my strength profile makes it very difficult for me to see a project somewhat epic in scope (like a book) through to completion on my own.

Frankly, that applies to virtually every aspect of my life (I’ve said many times that much of what ails me will naturally work itself out when I have a full-time romantic partner again).

The woman (a friend) who is coaching me through this StrengthsFinder process said: “Based on a cursory look at your strengths, you’re gonna need a partner,” in regards to completing book projects.

“What do you mean? A co-author?” I said.

“You’re a starter. But can tend to let things cool… a co-author… a publisher pushing you. Someone you empower to give you deadlines,” she said. “You need a partner of some kind who can propel you. Motivate you. You’ll have to figure out what that looks like.”

“Interesting,” I said. “Maybe an editing partner.”

“Exactly,” she said.

I love writing. I have a lot to say. And I’m very close to being ready to pull the trigger on these larger writing projects I have floating around in dozens of notebook pages, computer files and folders.

My favorite writer James Altucher often writes about the need for collaboration.

“There’s no such thing as a lone genius,” he writes. “Every Steve Jobs has a Steve Wozniak. Every Marie Curie has a Pierre Currie. Every Lennon has a McCartney. Even the most isolated genius (Picasso) had a Braque.”

I am no “lone genius.” I think that goes without saying.

But I do really want to finish these book ideas, if for no other reason than to learn how (or how to NOT) write and publish a book. It’s time to get started.

But I need a partner.

I don’t just want a partner. I need one. And I’m DONE thinking if I keep doing the same thing over and over and over again, it’s going to magically work one day. It will ALWAYS end the same if you keep trying the same thing.

We can call it a weakness if you must.

But I’m going to embrace my strengths. Everyone has them. And I’m going to leverage them. And I’m going to supplement my missing strengths with people in possession of the ones I need to accomplish my goals.

And I need one of those now. A person who possesses what I’m missing.

Are you a writer who has worked with an editor you like and respect? Are you an editor looking for a new project? Do you know how to find editors outside of traditional publishing? Do you have any tips for how to know when you’ve found the right person to work with on your most-important work?

I’m asking for your help.

I need a partner.

24 thoughts on “Help Me Find a Partner”

  1. I love your vulnerability. I’m a big StrengthsFinder fan (strategy, learner, connectedness, etc.) but never thought of doing it again now that I’m in a different stage in my life with different goals. I too, want to finish my book. I’m 11,000 words into my projected 100,000. I know a lot of successful writers work with writing groups or partners to give them feedback; others never do. I’m not sure what would work for me but it’s an interesting idea and I thank you for sharing it. I have no idea what genre you write but these two authors pulled off a fun collaboration for a bit: Crusie & Mayer
    (fun fact: one of the authors is also from our fine state).

    1. And one more thing: I have published a nonfiction book. My editor was very helpful in putting the book together. She had ideas and vision I just didn’t. I wonder if you’ve attended any writing conferences? It’s been a slow journey for me as a fiction writer but as I’ve started to come out of my shell I’ve gone to a few and they’ve been great.

      1. I have never attended a writing conference. Other than news stories, I’ve never had a collection of work put together. And I’m not sure this blog qualifies as that, but I don’t always play by the rules, so I sort of don’t care.

        Maybe I should do that.

    2. The StrengthsFinder process was infinitely more interesting, fun and insightful, than I expected it to be.

      I have three book ideas that I think are relevant. All of them would be expansions on ideas I write about in this blog. I don’t know what genre that is either.

      I don’t exactly fit into any neat, little silos.

      I recently bought a bunch of scene and structure and character-development books for fiction writing, too, but I’m not ready to take that plunge yet.

      I do feel ready to (with help!) complete some non-fiction projects.

      Thank you for reading and saying hi.

  2. Wow interesting. Maybe I’ll need a partner too. I’m the same but my reasoning, rationale, or excuse… Is time. There’s not enough time …to finish. Thanks for your openess and honesty. ?

    1. I am not sure if I did this correct, but I linked your article in my current post to answer the daily prompt. I apologize if I did not do this right. I know there is a way that you can get “pings” I believe when someone posts your article? Please let me know so I can correct. At any rate, I read your article and “triggered” a post for me, To Write Or Not. 🙂

      1. I really appreciate you sharing. Thank you. I’m quite sure you did it correctly.

        What my StrengthsFinder assessment indicated is that for me to successfully complete projects, I need partners or to be part of groups that include strong finishers and task managers.

        Without that, I will inevitably get distracted by that other shiny thing over there.

  3. Matt, I’ve more than 20 years on you; however, I hope to meet someone with the same warmth and honesty and integrity and qualities that you have.

  4. Hey Matt. I know I’ve mentioned this before. Facebook has a LOT of indie author groups, groups where writers/publishers/editors all come together to network.

    You could create a page or profile for blogging and joIn some of these groups. You’d have a partner in no time!

    Good luck with your book. I’m excited for you!

    1. I’m very close using my first and last name publicly all the time. The only thing that has kept me off those channels has been my desire for semi-anonymity.

      I want to write books. You have to use your name.

      Once all my ducks are in a row, I’ll be doing that, and then I’ll get more involved on Facebook and ramp up my efforts to write in other places.

      And thank you for the well wishes. I’m more scared than excited, currently!

      1. I use Facebook anonymously, as Samara Speaks. I can’t mix my real life friends and family with my blog family. ?

  5. That is what we do Matt, we work with authors who want to publish outside of traditional lines. We have editors, artists and other who have gone down this road. You can find the link to our publishing group on my blog, Redmund Pro. Samara gave you some good ideas as well.

    1. Thank you! I’m still piecing all this together.

      Why didn’t I know you worked with writers?

          1. It wasn’t a condemnation Matt, I write in a different genre mostly. But when you are ready, drop me a line and we can chat about what you are looking for, I edit and have other editors as well.

  6. Pingback: To Write or Not | Life is a Beach!

  7. Random thoughts:

    First of all: WHAT / WHICH book do you want to write FIRST out of the many ideas you seem to have? What genre exactly? What reader do you target? If you don’t know exactly (and I mean exactly): write an abstract for the whole thing, beginning with how it should end. Finish it, read it, see if it is what you want; if not, rework it until you are satisfied, and then share it with random people. Ask comments, possibly written, and absorb the reactions carefully, open-minded and without judgment. Then compare them to yours, and keep working on it until it’s perfect. Then you have finished something small which is the jumping board to the larger goal.

    Writing is of course totally subjective, as it should be. But good writers are astute and critical readers, in particular of what they themselves write. “Is this exactly what I wanted to say?” To answer that question requires the ability to be objective, to distance yourself from your subjective product, to know what you want and to judge if you are succeeding.
    Someone had an interesting verification procedure: “My own books are the most boring things I can imagine. I know every detail. There’s nothing left in it for me to learn or to get excited about. I keep writing as long as I can learn from it. If I find something that isn’t right I know there still something for me to learn. Writing is learning.” He published a book every five to seven years.

    Writing is a craft, and it’s work. Work as in ‘work,’ not as in ‘occupation’ or as in being an employer who has to meet deadlines and works in a team to achieve a result that the boss has set.


    with regard to the partner you need:

    One partner is probable not enough, not by far.

    Many professional writers have a small circle of trusted ‘assistants’ : researchers, brain stormers, trial readers, editors (I know someone who had an editor only for commas, semicolons and other stuff he did not care about), a secretariat, what have you.
    Usually all outsiders, not close friends. It’s wise to keep private life and professional life at some distance.

    But everyone is different, has the usual set of strengths and weaknesses, indeed, and the network of assistants is tailored to the needs resulting from those strengths and weaknesses.
    In any case, the author is both the CEO and main worker, so to speak. No one makes decisions for you, no one does your work. The idea is yours, and every word you write is yours, and your team is yours..
    You also set the tempo, the deadlines.

    To get anything good accomplished in life (and in writing) most is important are:

    motivation / faith (rational)
    a supreme concern with the mastering of your craft / art.

    you assemble your circle of partners according to what you possess and lack to produce your thing – whatever it is. you are the CEO and motivator.

    If you need a stable romantic partner to be balanced then get a romantic partner but not at the expense of your goal to write books. Choose one in the right perspective. Keep your priorities clear. i know people who choose not to have a romantic partner because they find it a distraction. Set your personal priorities and find the right balance. Maybe that’s work to be done before you embrace writing books.

    One very famous American artist who was married got a divorce. He said, “I can’t dedicate my life to two masters plus myself. I gave my word to my art before I gave it to my wife and I shouldn’t have promised to dedicate my life to her. It was a youthful mistake. It was a terrible thing to divorce her, but I knew I wasn’t fair to either her or my art, I wasn’t honest with myself. In the end it was a wise thing for all of us.”
    Later he had another partner, but they didn’t live under the same roof until their old age.

    End of random thoughts.

  8. I have a pretty good idea of what I want the first book to be. Pretty specifically, though I’ve left some wiggle room. Sometimes when I write things, stuff goes to a place I didn’t necessarily expect, and I don’t want to be too rigid.

    That said, writing the abstract seems like a really good idea. That would help me create the roadmap, and then I can just start filling in the blanks at that point.

    I appreciate you taking the time to write all of this out so (randomly) thoughtfully. Thank you very much.

  9. I wanna shake your hand for doing this. Really. I don’t know about you, but I often forget that there are all kinds of people out there who would be more than willing to extend a hand, if only I would ask!

    Very excited for you!

  10. Matt, I do not think I saw this post when it was new. But I have many time s bought about the need for you to finish your book and to be published despite guessing that it might be not naturally what would happen with your set of unique strengths and challenges. Even though I am also quite the “starter” I’ve even many times wanted to get involved. If you get to see this comment and don’t mind responding,

    1) where are you with your book in a box project?

    2) has it derailed your own book project as much as a fellow starter might worry that it naturally would?

    3) have you found an editor? (I happen to have learned of a person who privately edits for independent authors such as yourself, mostly editing works of non-fiction.)

    Honestly, though i realize that it might sound odd, I am even curious about if there is as much potential as I think there is for me to become apart of the process. Starting an independent publishing venture is near the top of my lists for risks I want to take and think I may enjoy real success with. It’s a hard field. But I think your book is needed in this world. And I think it absolutely could sell very well with some investment and hard work.

    I’ll have to look at my wordpress and see what contact means are available between us!

    1. Hey. I’m not always 100% on top of it, but I’m fairly reachable at [email protected]. (three Ts!)

      I’d prefer to have those chats via email, but am happy to have them and tell you whatever you might want to know.

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top
Matt Fray

Get my latest writing!

Sign up for my free weekly email newsletter as I continue an on-going exploration of love and relationships.