Baseball is America’s pastime for several reasons, but the reason I’m so attracted to it is the combination of individual performance and teamwork. Writing is like baseball in that way.
Yes, writing is a solitary pursuit in that we spend a lot of time by ourselves, typing away on our drafts. Many writers will say that writers need many “butt in chair” hours to develop their work. They have to do the actual writing. That is true for me, too. But at a certain point, I need other people, too.
Critique groups or partners are instrumental in the revision stage of writing. It’s really hard to pick out certain things in my own manuscript, since my mind can fill in the blanks of what it “knows” is in my plan for the book. Critiquers can help us see things with fresh eyes, and catch the things we can’t find on their own. And they can also give encouragement when I’m having trouble—they know what the writing life is like.
Writing experts and groups can also provide encouragement, information, and advice that will help individual writers learn and grow. For example, I recently attended the SCBWI-Alaska Big Thaw Retreat. Our local presenters (Brooke Hartman and Stefanie Tatalias) and agent Fiona Kenshole focused on plot for most of the weekend, which was exactly what I was struggling with in my current WIP (work in progress). I left with lots of revision ideas, and faith that others had confidence in me. That is priceless.
Thanks to all my critique groups and partners in AKRWA and SCBWI-Alaska. (I’ve had so many over the years that I decline to use names for fear I’d miss someone.) Thanks to all the experts, editors, and agents who have given me advice or feedback over the years. I’m a much better writer because of it. I’m glad that writing is like baseball, and proud to be on the team!