Writing Critique Groups

  I hear both positive and negative sides to writing groups/critique groups. Some writers find them very useful while others…not so much. When I began writing seriously I found myself most often chained to a table at my local coffee shop writing away on my laptop and moving only when one side of my butt fell asleep. Needless to say (sidenote: I think this is one of the funniest phrases as it is always followed by that thing that doesn’t need to be said…), I began craving human interaction if only to talk to someone outside of the characters in my head. I knew that alone if I were to have a question about character development or plot twists or get writer’s block or any number of potholes on my writing journey, I would be stuck spinning my wheels.

So I turned to the internet for help. Through a site called meetup.com (Yahoo Groups is similar), I found a writing critique group that met around my area. When the day finally arrived when I was to meet my new best friends for the first time, I found myself both nervous and excited. Through the Barnes & Noble doors lay my future. Through the guidance and tutelage of these learned souls I would excel to new heights in my writing path and propel my novel ever closer to the publishing world! So say we all…

Not exactly.

While everyone who came and went in that initial writing group was very nice and eager to help others groom their writing skills, I left after a year and haven’t joined another group since. Two good things came out of that group: 1. I met my friend and author Alissa Grosso who has helped to guide me on my own writing path while following hers and 2. I have a better idea of what I want from a writing group.

I realized I need: people who attend consistently (so many people were in and out of that other writing group there were no real connections made on my end), people seeking to better their writing and eventually seek to get published (while I appreciate that it takes a long time to write let alone get published, it would be nice to talk to people who are going through the same agent seeking, query writing troubles as me), people writing in the same genre (I write YA/MG and it would be nice to find others who understand where you’re coming from and where you might be going), and people I trust to share my work with (this goes back to the consistent thing as I don’t want to give portions of my baby novel to someone who I only see once every few months).

With those criteria in mind I signed up to attend a group that actually meets at the library I work at. Yay! I have high hopes for this one, so wish me luck. First meeting is tomorrow night. 😀

Happy writing!

  1. Well put. I’ll be interested to hear how this group goes.

  2. Cool! Hope the new group is a success!

    I think the biggest thing is having writers in the same genre or similar genres.

    • I think it’s a plus too. I’ll let u know how it goes!

  3. Yay. Glad you still got something (and someone) out of it.

    I joined one Meetup group years ago and didn’t have a good experience. The people came late or not at all, and they seemed more like hobbyists who had no idea what querying was and weren’t writing steadily. Also, I was the only YA writer there.

    I left and joined my current group. They are wonderful.

    • That’s encouraging to know you found a group you really like. Especially since you’re a published author! 🙂

    • Meg
    • September 9th, 2011

    Good luck! I’m doing a book club through MeetUp.com and like you, I’ve found there’s a lot of people in and out of the group. It’s okay for a book club though.

  4. While I value the comments I get from my writing group, the process is very slow and lately we’ve had a hard time finding dates that work for everyone. Some people think that once you are published, you shouldn’t need a writing group’s support anymore, but I think that’s ridiculous. I don’t care how many books I write, I’ll always need the input of a trusted group.

    • I’m not published (yet…) but I always welcome a trained eye and constructive criticism regarding my writing. Like you, I appreciate it more if I can rely on the people in my writing group – I think I’ve found a good one! 🙂

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