Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Group Writing

When I turned seven years old, I joined the local Brownie troop. We made snow globes, visited local dairies and earned our badges together. I formed a tight group of friends with whom I went on to join the Girl Scouts.

In high school, I joined the band dancers—allowing me to attend all the football games, cheer on my team and learn intricate routines with my team members.

More of the same group joining in college—volley teams, clubs and more.
Each time I’m a member of a group, I grow as a person. I interact with the personalities around me. I learn new skills.

Now I’m a part of a group of writers in my town where I’m the facilitator. We share, we grow together, and we learn our craft. I’m also a part of online writers where I learn even more because of the instant availability of information at the stroke of a key.

Recently, I’ve taken to writing fiction more seriously. I do alright with my particular niche of nonfiction, but I feel a little like a new swimmer testing the cold water with my big toe when it comes to writing great readable fiction.

I’m getting it, but slowly.

What I’m lacking is a good critique group.

Here’s my question for you—how did you find your critique group, do you recommend being part of one—and if you use one, how has your writing improved?

Writing can be a lonely practice—but I don’t think it’s meant to be. Reach out today and join a group of fellow writers!

19 comments:

Greg C said...

What a great question. My family is my critique group and here is what I discovered. They tend to be very critical of what I write. I think it is because they feel that what I write is a reflection on our family unit which is true in some respects. So my advice would be to make sure your group doesn't know you too well. I find that people that don't know me too well aren't as critical.

Embee said...

I'm still looking for a writing and/or critique group. You're right, writing can be a lonely pursuit so I'm hoping I can find a group to join!

Jody Hedlund said...

I found a critique group through ACFW. But then found my crit. partner through a blogging relationship. I think there are really endless ways to get feedback on our writing. But it's a matter of finding the best mix for your schedule and personality.

Wendy said...

I'm wanting to know the same thing. I had 5 cold readers read my book, but it wasn't the same. I wanted to give back and have that group experience...just not sure how to go about it. Looking forward to reading more comments on this one.
~ Wendy

Janna Qualman said...

Absolutely, we have to reach out to one another. And that's how I found my "critique group," which is consists of fellow writers I trust to look at my work.

I think you're doing great with jumping into fiction!

Jan Cline said...

I would love to be a part of a critique group but I'm afraid that since I am new at this myself, I wouldn't be able to distinguish good from bad crituqes/advise. How do you know if you're in the right place.

Melissa Marsh said...

I was part of a critique group once and it was more of a hindrance than anything - so a GOOD critique group is a must.

I haven't belonged to a critique group since. I wonder if that experience soured me on them?

Kristen Painter said...

I found my critique group in part through the massive writer's forum I run, Romance Divas. We've become friends over the years and although I don't really need a critique group as much these days, it's always good to have someone to bounce ideas off of.

KelliGirl said...

Terri,
Congratulations on branching out into fiction. I admire writers who can do that well. I'm sure it will also help you become a better non-fiction writer.

I belong to a crit group that I really enjoy. I met them through a writers' conference. I also belonged to an online crit group, but didn't think that worked so well. The others must have agreed because the group disbanded after a few months.

Good luck finding a group.

Jessica said...

Crit groups are hard to find. Mine are all online and I think they're super helpful.
So, would you say you're an extrovert? lOL

Pat's Place said...

I have two writing groups but they are not critique groups. We have lots of fun writing about designated topics. I used to belong to a critical writing group and they were an immense help in improving my own writing. I miss the group and need to find another one!!

"Blossom" said...

If I could only express in words on paper what I feel; I might just believe in my self!
Love you blog.

Jill Kemerer said...

This is a tough subject--it shouldn't be--but it is. I've listened in on a verbal critique group and was horrified by one writer's public trashing of another writer's work. That's a group I don't want to belong too!

I do belong to a critique group, but it isn't perfect. Not everyone has the same time to devote to critiquing. We all write different genres, different lengths, and none of us are published. I've found myself more and more relying on my one girlfriend for feedback. She's honest and kind.

I really enjoy critiquing other writer's work. I learn so much from it. I'm going to e-mail you with the rest of my thoughts, okay?

Warren Baldwin said...

I've never used a writing group. Just recently, though, I've begun to team up with a friend 3 states away and we will be working together by telephone and computer.

BeckyJoie at Leaders in Learning said...

You can always join me in Sorrento! Really! I know it's far but...highly worth it. I've been in several over the years but this one is excellent.
OR
Why can't we add that element to our group?

Yolanda said...

My hubs is my critique and then those of you that leave a response on my blog.

Lin said...

I use my group of writers as a critique group. We email each other our articles, poems, etc and give feedback that way. Also belong to a local writer's guild but don't really enjoy their critique group-it really depends on the personalities in the group. But any feedback is better than none.

Chelle Sandell said...

I went through several crit groups before I found one I absolutlely love. There are still issues with knowing what advice to use because not everyone in the group targets the same line that I do. The best advice I've heard...read a lot of books that fall under the same category that you want to target. Especially if you are targeting a specific line or publishing house. Analyze the book structure and really research the submission requirements and current authors. I found the best crit partners through blogging friendships:)

Deborah said...

I mainly write song lyrics, so I found a critique group online, called Christian Song Writers. I haven't participated in a long time, but when I did I found it very helpful to have feedback and even suggestions to make a lyric better...especially from unbiased people who aren't worried about hurting your feelings!