Monday, December 9, 2013

The Writing Community

In the English composition classes that I teach this semester, we are doing some reflective essays this week.  A common topic is the value of peer critiques.  Students write about how helpful this feedback is for their essays.  They seem surprised by how insightful their peers can be.

This always makes me smile a little.

After reading Keith's post, I'm also struck with how wonderful and problematic feedback is--outside of a classroom environment or inside.  I suspect the root of the problem is how personally we writers can take criticism and how difficult it can be to hear the failings in work that we struggle over, but the value of the community is there.

Keith, Randy, Mike, and David laugh and bond over writing with me.  Their wisdom and insight is invaluable to me, but beyond that, they are my friends.  In a strange way, we can talk about plot and character development and symbolism and polysyndetons (you thought I was done with this), and I know that there are very few people outside of this circle in my life that appreciate such things.

In this lovely holiday season in which I am beginning to find time to restart revisions at the encouragement and gentle coaxing (no, "Get the damn novel going again," from Keith, though) and enjoying the company of other writers, I want to say a special blessing to my writing friends--including Tom, George, Kristen, Jim, Tom 2, Brigitte, and Bernadette in David's fiction group at the Indianapolis Writer's Center.  Thank you for being my writing support and outlet and encouragement and inspiration and laughter.

And yes, I may try to cut back on polysyndetons in the New Year, but don't count on it.

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