Recently I found myself re-reading Stephen King’s memoir On Writing. While King writes with a delightful irreverence, he offers a very grounded, no-nonsense perspective about writing. As I read this time, I noticed again and again how King doesn’t write in isolation.
His wife is a trusted first reader. His editors, teachers, and peers provide him guidance and encouragement. He and some writer friends have even formed a rock band, where they can talk about the craft and have some fun. In fact, he recalls how fellow band member Amy Tan told him “it was okay to write” this memoir.
I suspect few professional writers lock themselves away and emerge with a finished manuscript. Social engagement with a community of peers and mentors helps writers excel – to get the critical feedback and affirmations they need to learn, experiment, and grow.
At the university, however, the student-author tends to write in isolation, away from the learning environment. While published authors seek and find community, writing and the exploration of ideas at the university can be a very lonely enterprise.
This needn’t be the case. Students don’t have write alone, especially at Antioch University. Our campus writing centers and the Virtual Writing Center (VWC) offer safe and friendly environments for students to converse about writing. Peer tutors are trained to ask open-ended questions to help writers in any stage of the writing process.
If you haven’t done so already, I invite you to visit your campus writing center or submit something to the VWC. An enthusiastic tutor will be waiting to listen and learn with you.
Director – Center for Teaching and Learning
Antioch University Seattle