Friday, March 10, 2017
Top Five Reasons to Join a Critique Group
Finding a group of people who spend their energy doing the same thing you do can make you feel less alone in what is otherwise a pretty solitary endeavor. When I'm forgetting to make my writing a priority, it's often my fellow writers who motivate me. And when I'm bummed out by an agent rejection or a bad review, they're great emotional support.
2. Trade wisdom
If you're rubbish at commas, make friends with the Punctuation Nazi. Offer something in return. Maybe you are really great at plot organization or dialogue or designing book covers or Kindle formatting. Maybe you have great contacts: reviewers, graphic artists, advertisers. When we share skills, it makes us all better.
3. Learn which advice to take
Everyone has an opinion. If you take on every suggested edit, it will no longer be your story and it may not even make sense when you're done. Think of the horse designed by committee. Wait for the advice that resonates, that hits on something you had a sneaking suspicion wasn't working. Pay extra attention to suggestions that are repeated by multiple group members.
4. Find your own mistakes by critiquing others
It can be hard to see your own work objectively. You're just too close to it. Sometimes it's easier to identify an issue in someone else's work and then apply it to your own.
5. Get a thicker skin
If you plan on submitting to agents or self-publishing where reader reviews determine sales, it's helpful to ease your way into listening to criticism. Your book will not be universally liked. Don't let it hurt your feelings. I like to read Amazon reviews of my favorite books to remind myself that anyone can get one-starred.
There are more than five reasons to join a critique group. What are your reasons?