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On Creating a Community of Writers (How and Why)

On Creating a Community of Writers (How and Why)

Written by Deanna Mascle
July 14, 2014

I’ve blogged a lot about community and why I think it is important to share writing and feedback.

But as I embark on my third Online Summer Institute I am thinking about it again and deciding what important ideas I want to share with the teachers joining that community.

We are reading Writing Alone and With Others by Pat Schneider in the Morehead Online Summer Institute which includes some great thoughts on both why community is important as well as how to create one (Part II introduction, Chs. 10, 11, 12, 13).

Some other readings about community:

Creating a community of writers isn’t easy, after all creating a community itself isn’t easy (Community: Jumping to become a full-patch member) and when you bring writers who are not confident writers and wary about sharing due to bad experiences with feedback in the past then you have a situation fraught with peril.

I like to ease students into sharing their writing. We focus first on sharing ideas and thoughts and drafts so rough that we don’t fear a response. Then we begin with specific, targeted responses. What was our gut reaction? What questions did this writing raise or answer? What do we think or feel? Creating a community of writers is about training the writer to ask for specific kinds of help at specific stages of the writing process as well as training the reader to give only the responses that a reader can give.

How can you create a community of writers and/or functioning feedback loops in your classrooms? What are your fears and concerns about the process of creating a community of writers?

Read more about my pedagogy and practice on my Metawriting blog at: