Some would say writing is a solitary activity and in many ways it is. Writing begins in one individual’s mind and is then analyzed in another mind; this process doesn’t necessarily involve extensive external human interactions. Reading and writing effectively can often require reflective and introspective thought. However, an old proverb says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” I believe that this mentality definitely applies to writing.
As a writer, I personally struggle with proofreading. My thinking tends to focus on meanings and ideas versus structure and details. For this reason, sometimes when I go over my work, I still miss my mistakes. This past semester, several of my classes have involved extensive peer reviews, and that has helped me tremendously. I find reading and writing in a community, challenges my writing and my worldview as an individual.
I found a blogger online named Pam Marin-Kingsley. I’ve mixed her insights with some of my own.There are several advantages to writing in groups and here’s a brief list:
1. There will always be someone you can learn from and someone you can teach.
2. Depending on the group, you can find interesting arguments about controversial subject matter.
3. You can simultaneously get criticism and rapport and both can improve you as a writer.
4. You can find a community of people with like-minded interests.
5. You have the opportunity to be pretentious, drink tea and eat crumpets with other pretentious people. This is mostly a joke.
And my favorite reason:
6. Others see what I cannot.
Writing in a group has helped me learn when to listen to my own instincts and when to listen to the advice of others, and this is valuable ability in every area of life. I plan to continue writing in communities throughout my career.