Writing Communities: Professional and Academic

Hi! My name is Sophie Burton and I am a senior from Minneapolis majoring in Communication Studies, and, in addition to Writing, I am minoring in Crime & Justice. Throughout my writing career my writing communities have been primarily academic, however, through my magazine editorial internships over my summers in college I have gotten a taste of professional “writing communities,” which are very different. In college, my writing communities have been my English classes and the Gateway class, and in each, because they were very small and because we did a fair amount of peer review, I felt that they acted as their own small communities and that I felt a strong connection with the other writers in the classes. There was a lot of constructive feedback, and investment in each other, as we all really wanted each other to succeed. As I entered the world of magazine publishing, the art of review was very different. At my first internship, I was very much a part of the writing community in that each piece that I or anyone on my team wrote was passed to every member of the team for top-editing. This wasn’t exactly as conducive to constructive higher-order criticism but it did make me feel like I was a part of each published piece. At my internship this past summer, I got very little feedback and would often find my piece was changed without my knowledge, in the interest of publishing on time rather than prioritizing my interest of growing as a writer. This pushed me in a different way, in that I had to sift through the changes that were made and decipher why they had been made and what I could do in the future. Ultimately, I have found my academic writing communities to be much more supportive, gentle, and constructive than my professional writing communities, however, each have allowed me to grow uniquely, and develop thicker skin in different ways.

Sophie Burton

Sophomore in LSA, from Minnesota. I love yoga and sea salt truffles.

2 thoughts to “Writing Communities: Professional and Academic”

  1. Hi Sophie! I found your post to be completely spot on with your mention of the investment that peers have in writing communities, especially when I think back at the successful (and unfortunately, unsuccessful) experiences I have had in my English and Writing courses. It’s great that you feel supported by your peers and that you feel that they have created a safe environment for you to share your work and grow. I look forward to reading more of your posts this semester!

  2. Hey Sophie! I have not worked in a professional writing community before but I agree with your comment that they would be less supportive than our academic writing groups. I also thought that the gateway writing community was definitely the most constructive writing community I have been a part of here.

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