Writing critique groups can be an intense bummer, yet they’re critical to writing success. How to balance the good and the bad?
Years ago, I began writing seriously, so I joined a critique group. I didn’t know what to expect.
This group was so mean, I almost stopped writing. Forever.
After a while, though, I learned to (a) write better, and (b) stand up for myself. Plus I found a group I liked.
So now, I’m a crusty old professional. Somebody messes with me, I mess right back. But the new people, or the writers who aren’t as sure of themselves, make me sad.
I hear the sound of frustration and discouragement around our table sometimes. The writer doesn’t know much about writing, or about what SHE wants to say, and as a result, the other members run over her. She runs back to her little dungeon to continue writing all by her lonesome.
I put together a three-part series about writing groups a few years ago, and the info still holds. Here’s the first one, and at the bottom of each is a link to the next. I hope you find them helpful.
On the plus side, though, I have to say this: my current critique group, to which I’ve belonged for maybe five years, has become more than a writing group. They’re my friends. Hell, they’re my family. I don’t know what I’d do without them. So it’s worthwhile to give it time, and find the group that’s right for you.
Are you in a critique group? How’s that working for you? Do you have a problem with it that maybe we can fix? Or just enjoy reading about? You know, writers love to see other peoples’ problems. It makes for such great material.