I’ve written before about my critique group and how much I enjoy being a part of it. We are a group of four (although we started as a group of two) and we meet every other week; the goal is for each person to submit something for critique the week before we meet.
Lately, that hasn’t been happening as much as we’d all like.
So we’ve been trying to figure out what to do about it.
- Should we meet once a month instead of every other week?
- Should only two people submit each time?
- Should we take the summer off?
Last Thursday we met and critiqued each other’s writing. Then we talked through our “slump” and decided what to do about it. We each have our own reasons for not being as consistent as we have been in the past.
We each re-committed to the critique group in our own way.
We decided to keep the format the same: we will continue to meet every other week and we are all going to try to submit by midnight the Saturday before our next meeting.
For myself, I know if we don’t meet, I’m much less likely to spend any of my writing time on fiction. I love writing fiction and I feel like I’m learning a lot so I don’t want to let it go. The external accountability really helps me get my butt in the chair and the words on the page.
And even if I don’t submit, I still find reading another writer’s work valuable. Noticing what works for me and what doesn’t in someone else’s WIP is very useful. It’s so much easier for me to look at another person’s piece and answer questions like, “What is the goal of this scene? What is the motivation of this character in this scene?”
The more I do that, the more I can see the goals and motivations of my own characters.
Plus, I get to support other writers. I can’t wait to see my fellow writer’s words in print—I know that day is coming for each of the members of the group and I will have a front row seat for the whole wonderful ride.
Our critique group is like any other relationship: it takes work. But, as in my other important relationships, the benefits far outweigh the effort I put into it.
Do you have a critique group (or partner?) How have you weathered the changes in your group?
Diane MacKinnon, MD: is a writer, blogger, life coach, mother, stepmother, and doctor. I’m enjoying my writing more these days because I have an attitude of “whatever I get done is good enough,” and that allows me to write in small pockets of time that in the past I thought “weren’t enough.” All those little pockets are starting to add up!