Our FFB AWDoll launched into a tirade against us on Facebook today, responding to an earlier blog post in which we encouraged aspiring writers to "just write" in an effort to improve. We don't know precisely which post she was referring to, but it certainly sounds like something we would say, so we don't deny it.
(DIGRESSION: AWDoll is a paragon of moderation, so her tirades are not so much vitriolic as they are, oh, Canadian. EOD)
At any rate, her point was that students benefit at least as much from thoughtful feedback as they do from the simple fact of writing. We don't deny the benefits of thoughtful, not to say nitpicky, feedback. Indeed, our own students receive extensive (they might say 'obsessive') feedback on everything they write. Nevertheless, we would argue that writing regularly, even without feedback, will prove more beneficial to a writer than, say, not writing.
We go back to Stephen King's advice--
(DIGRESSION: We would say "Stop us if we've told you this before," but you can't, so. . . nyah nyah. EOD)
--He essentially says that writing is a muscle. Just as, if you lift a ten-pound weight fifty times a day, you will build up your arm strength, so, too, will you build up your "writing strength" if you write a few hundred words a day. Of course, writing is different from bodybuilding in that it is a communicative medium and, at some point, you need to show other people what you've done to know if you've done it well. Nevertheless, the simple fact of writing--and, indeed, reading--every day will develop in anyone a sense of rhythm, a sense of language, a comfort with the very act of writing that will, indeed, lead to greater fluency.
Now, if you'll excuse us, we have to go lift some weights.