The Writing Life

…a literary journey

Shout out to Critique Groups…


Happy New Year! I can seriously imagine the thousands of people writing their first blog of the year; or maybe even more starting a brand new blog…whether it’s to engage current and attract new followers, or simply because like me, they cannot not write.

As I sat writing in my journal this morning, of course I reflected on where I am right now, and what I hoped the new year would include – but I also found myself uncharacteristically being grateful for small things I’ve normally taken for granted. So here, on my Writing Life blog I wanted to share my appreciation for my current critique group…albeit small, they have given me more encouragement as I head into writing the end of Oldsters, than anyone else ever has (with the exception of my daughter, who continually proves to be my strongest supporter and I love her for that!).

When I moved across the state last July, I knew I wanted to find a writer’s group. I had led a small one back in St. Petersburg, but it hadn’t left me with the best taste for wanting to be in another. I did attend one here in my new home, but besides being really further than I wanted to drive, I wasn’t looking to just meet anymore to do writing prompts. Now that I was seriously far enough into Oldsters, I was looking for some real feedback – and I knew that would be tough, because people tend to just say ‘nice job’. I needed more than that. I wasn’t looking for a pat on the shoulder; I needed real critique, and I’m happy to say I’ve found it.

critique-group-cartoon

I started a new meetup.com group and several people quickly joined. And I learned what I already knew – people will join anything, but it will be a small number who actually participate and show up to do the work. Right now, there’s three of us that meet regularly, and it has been fantastic. We are all very different writers, working on different types of projects – but we have clicked and they’ve become invaluable to me! I’ve given the rest of the “members” until the end of January to catch up on our works and start attending – I think there’s two others that may be serious. After that though, I’ll remove the other members – do people think it’s a status thing, to say I belong to 158 meetup.com groups? Anyway, I was only looking to find a small group that was serious about learning from each other – and we’re on our way!

We normally upload our files on the site, and then we each print out and mark up the others’ works. Then we can spend our time going over the critiques – so no wasting time reading all our works out loud. Afterwards, we all have the notes we need for going home and revise if we choose to.

So this is my shout out to Emily Thomas and Vinnie – they both have encouraged me so much, I believe them when they say ‘good job’, and their comments/critiques are always thoughtful and helpful. It is such a source of happiness to have their eyes upon my work at this stage, reading it from the first chapter. They are both talented writers, and I always look forward to reading their next piece.

Writing can be a solitary life, and if you can find the right passengers to help you along the way – it’s such a nicer trip!

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