My top three reasons why critique groups rock . . .
1. Critique group members hold you accountable.
I won’t lie. As much as I love writing, I truly need deadlines to keep me moving at a steady pace. I’m too good at “writing” excuses for myself. Those excuses greedily gobble up my writing opportunities, in favor of oftentimes less honorable enterprises (like watching TV. Ugh!) Knowing my critique group is ready to give me feedback, in exchange for merely meeting my deadline, motivates me to better align my priorities and quit twiddling around already.
2. Critique groups encourage you.
Writing is tough enough. When you add the pursuit of publication to equation, with its inevitable rejections, the process can be pretty painful. Being part of a gang of empathetic travelers who are uniquely equipped to offer roadside assistance when your tires are punctured or shredded is such a perk. More like a perk on steroids. It’s amazing.
3. Critique group keep you honest.
When you go solo, it’s easy to get a tad delusional. Speaking for myself, it’s easy to fall in love with the rhythm of my own words. My critique group helps me to “de-precious” my work. With their help, I can face it in a cool, objective light. Just like all green things, including my budding manuscript, light is essential for growth. If I leave my manuscript buried under a rock, it’ll be safe alright, but there’s no room for growth in a dark place. I say arm your critique group with lanterns, flashlights filled with lithium batteries and torches. You may need to wear shades to your next meeting, but it’s worth it.
Are you still group-less? Let Frog on a Dime encourage you to hop in! What are you “wading” for? (Oh, great. I know my critique group is going to bust me for the bad puns!) Let this article from Harold Underdown’s “The Purple Crayon” site help you get a jump on it.
One last thing . . . my warmest thanks to Monica, Jennifer, Cathy, Kris, David and Mindy. You’re the reasons why our group rocks!
Criticism is the windows and chandeliers of art: it illuminates the enveloping darkness in which art might otherwise rest only vaguely discernible, and perhaps altogether unseen. ~ American drama critic and editor George Jean Nathan