Picture the common stereotype of the writer. There he is, hunched alone over a typewriter, cigarette smoking in the ashtray on the right, half drunk glass of bourbon on the left. She is sitting up late at night staring at a glowing screen, pecking away while everyone else sleeps. Off in the corner–look there!–the writer scribbles his thoughts on a notepad while others go about their daily business. In the popular consciousness, the writer is a lonely creature.
It is true. Writing is a solitary task.
But then, writing something wonderful is not.
Something truly worthwhile–something as good as it can possibly be–is not the result of a single craftsman, no matter how talented he may be. The fertile soil of the mind that produces exquisite flowers of prose and poetry has many gardeners.
Bluntly, to write well requires help.
And that is the point of writers’ groups. They can provide we solitary writers that critical eye, that incredulous raised eyebrow that says more than a thousand words ever will, the embarrassed “I didn’t get that at all” that we all desperately need. Even if–perhaps especially if–we think the piece is already perfect.
In the year since I have had the pleasure of joining Greenville SCWW chapter, I have been incredibly fortunate to be on the receiving end of plenty of good feedback, which has led to what is unquestionably and by any metric my best year as a writer. It is my earnest hope that my feedback has been of some use to others as well.
After all, “iron sharpens iron, so does a man sharpen his friend.” Stay sharp, fellow writers, and help the rest of us stay sharp too.
David Dixon is a husband, father, veteran and author who lives in Mauldin. He has written for The Strategy Bridge, PIPPAblog, Task & Purpose, and Army Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @dixondaver.