Of the many tools in the writer’s arsenal, none can be greater than the writing community.
Sometimes it is hard for writers to see the benefit of this tool. We enjoy being left alone to write in silence and fight with imaginary people in our heads. Dealing with real people ruins this for us.
However, I have personally seen the benefits of having a strong writing community. There was a time when I worked in a university writing center and taught English Composition. Students who went to the writing center always excelled with their essays, while those students who decided to remain a hermit in their dorms did not meet the same level.
Why? That is a long and very studied question, but what it boils down to is support.
A writing community (like the students found in the writing center) not only helps with combating writing anxiety, but also helps with generating ideas and creating dialogue.
Furthermore, writers thrive on reader feedback and a writing community gives you just that. People are able to point out issues with your believed “amazing” drafts you hadn’t seen (or weren’t willing to see) before. And when you realize you have to re-write everything, they are there to cheer you on and help you not give up. In a nutshell, you understand you are NOT ALONE.
That is one point that is so important. To realize you have a community of people willing to help you, and that there is no one right way of going through the writing process. A writing community allows you to expand your wings and not be afraid.
So, the next time you crack open that notebook, don’t go it alone. Seek out a community, and I assure you it will be the most important thing you’ll ever do for yourself, your sanity and, of course, your writing.