You’ve seen the commercials. There’s a woman with limpity blahsville hair. Her shoulders, schlumpy. Her eyes, rolled. She blows a puff of air upward from her lower lip and ruffles her scruffy bangs–the universal breath of disgust. Then, some product whooshes onto the screen. It’s a bottle of glamorous, sexy-smelling hope for hair. Ms. Lackluster snatches the wunderproduct, suds it through her sorry locks and voila! Cue the fans to blow a mane so magnificent as to make Fabio throw in the towel.
What if there was a “product” that could do the same–give shine, volume and manageability–to your writing? Good news! There is. It’s called Critique Group.
Here’s how this amazing product works:
Shine. Nothing will give your writing that dazzling sheen you desire like a robust critique. Your group can help you snip those dry, split ends created by worn or useless verbiage, identify stronger verbs and methodically polish your work.
Volume. Receiving regular feedback on your work helps to fuel your momentum, which hopefully, results in higher word counts and more pages than you may have accumulated as a solo act. So luxurious!
Manageability. Critique groups, regardless of how you arrange them, typically come with a schedule for sharing your work. Knowing you have these deadlines can help you plan, set goals and make the whole writing process more aimful instead of aimless.
You say you don’t have a critique group of your very own? Instead of pulling out your hair, let’s find you a group ASAP.
Consider these ideas for either starting or connecting with an established group:
- Use social media. Let Facebook friends or Twitter followers know you’d like to join or start a group.
- Visit discussion boards and search “critique groups” to see who’s seeking. For example, you could start with the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) and explore the Resources section.
- Talk with your local children’s librarian or a writing instructor at your local community college about your desire to form a group. You may learn about others who have expressed the same. If there’s a public bulletin board at the library or community college, post a “Want Ad” there.
- Go to writing conferences or take writing classes and do a little friendly snooping to find out about the groups of your fellow attendees. Who knows, they may be hoping to add a new member.
- Ask other writing friends for ideas. Ask how they decided between joining a face-to-face or online group (and the advantages/disadvantages of each), how their group is structured and if they know of a group with an opening. If your friend is groupless, ask about starting a new group of your own.
If you’re already in a group and have more ideas, tips for how to structure or improve a critique group, please share.
Wishing you gorgeous “hair” days ahead!