One of the joys of my reading is looking at books that are not necessarily for review, but are written by friends of mine who are looking for constructive commentary while a book is being written. Not only is it a very personal matter to read something that is pre-publication by an author, but it is also a wonderful thing to talk about works while they are in the process of being created with an author. While I must say that I have not written a lot of works collaboratively, since I tend to write in a solitary fashion even if I feel compelled to share what I write with others, the most enjoyable times I have ever had writing have been writing works with others. There are not many works that I have written that lend themselves to writing collaboratively, but those that do have been quite enjoyable to write, and I have appreciated those willing to bounce ideas with me.
The vast majority of what I read  is nonfiction, so it is always intriguing when I read fiction, because it is not the usual material that comes my way. It is especially interesting for me to ponder, as a writer myself, to ponder the factors that go into the writings of others. I know for myself that as a writer the way I write is seldom entirely straightforward but that which I write is unmistakably related to the experiences of life that I am going through. This is not necessarily something I enjoy, but given that writing is an obvious way for me to release pressure, it ought to be of little surprise that those aspects of life that cause pressure also tend to induce a fair amount of writing. For better or worse I am a somewhat transparent person.
Not everyone is that way. That is to say, not everyone writes with such a clear connection between life and art. Nevertheless, there is usually some sort of relevance between the sort of life that someone has lived and the sort of writing that they create. Some people write out their fantasies, without necessarily having experience. Some people write out of their personality, their circle of friends and acquaintances, or are very consciously influenced by others who have gone before then. It is immensely profitable to reflect upon those works which have influenced our own style, approach, and even the content of what we write.
It is also interesting for me to ponder the connections between writings by people who have similar life experiences and the differences that result from different qualities. For example, most of the main characters in my writings are men, and most of the authors I know who are women write main characters who are women. Likewise, a life that is somewhat harsh tends to reveal itself in writings that are somewhat harsh as well. We cannot help but be influenced by the experiences we have had as well as the literature that we consume, and out of our influences as well as our interaction with these influences in our heart and mind we form our own creative works, that in turn can serve to shape our actions as well as influence others as well. We are complicated people, and even if we write alone, what we write extends far beyond our own lives.