I have a confession, I haven’t always been a fan of critique groups. Due to a few not so pleasant experiences the thought of ever joining one caused me to break out in a cold sweat, my heart to race and my stomach to attempt to escape via my throat. I’d tried a few online groups…they could be down right mean. I know they aren’t supposed to sugar coat things and tie it up with a sparkling bow, chew it up and spit it back at you…basically telling you that there is no way on Earth you could EVER become a published author no matter how much help you got. I thought the idea was to help each other with constructive criticism. Point out typo’s, grammatical errors and to give useful suggestions to help make your writing stronger. Anyway these groups caused me to want to burn everything I’d ever written or anything I might write in the future.
…One day I decided I wanted to write for than a hobby, I wanted to write and become a published writer. I set off to do so with the support of my great friends (writers as well as the non writers) I was encouraged to join a critique group, to let others once again read my writing. My answer was NO way it will NEVER happen!
I wrote…and wrote a lot. I took class after class and read book after book on writing. Rejection after rejection….UGGGGH!! What was the deal? Family and friends thought it was good…some even said great, then why weren’t my short stories getting into Chicken Soup for the Soul, why wasn’t I winning every contest I entered? Then one day I signed up for a writing class at the local library, I shared a short story with 10 strangers and was a bit shocked when I got their feedback. They didn’t hate it or tell me to stop writing. I actually got some really helpful suggestions, words of encouragement, this critiquing thing didn’t seem so bad after all. Once the class was over I expected I’d just go back to writing by myself and getting feedback from friends and family. On the last day of class a couple of the other girls taking the class made the suggestion that those of us who wanted to could continue meeting as kind of a critique/support group. We could read and critique each others work and to support each other as we all worked toward the same goal…to write better and become published authors. We exchanged emails for a bit discussing where and when to meet and what we would be doing during our meetings. A few days later we had all the details ironed out, we would meet at a local bookstore, we’d email each other 5 pages or so a week to critique.
1st meeting…3 of us show up so we critiqued…we discussed and we made suggestions. I was a bit shocked…only because what I once thought was a really bad idea was turning out to be something I was so glad to be part of. We’ve been meeting on Tuesdays every Tuesdays for a couple of months now and I not only know my writing is getting better but I’ve made 2 new amazing friends. We email each other several times a week, meet on Tuesdays and attend 2 different classes together on Thursdays. We’re planning on attending writing conferences together in the future. Oh and of course we’re planning on becoming published authors with the help of one another. Even though there are only 3 of us in our group…we’re doing awesome!!
Don’t blogging for now…time to go check out the girls work for this week
See you Tuesday girls!!