Critique groups. Critique partners. For many writers, the idea of joining such a group or linking with another writer is scary. New writers, in particular, may be hesitant about sharing their work. Some might be afraid of what other members will say or think. Still, others may feel inferior to more seasoned writers in the group.
In my opinion, if you want to become a published writer, joining a critique group or having a critique partner is necessary.
I’ve been a part of a critique group for several years and can say my group is invaluable. We have experienced writers and beginning writers. We write in different genres. But we all have one thing in common—we are writers. People who want to want to improve their craft and, if not already, become published writers.
Here are three of the many reasons for joining a critique group:
A critique group provides helpful feedback. As writers, we are “too close” to our work. We know what we want to say, but will our readers understand? When you allow others to read and critique your writing, they can offer suggestions such as, “I believe if you worded it this way…” or “That sentence was a bump to me, it distracted from the main story…”
A critique group offers encouragement. Remember that critique groups are composed of writers. Like you, they love to write and have a deep appreciation for the craft. They want to encourage you, and they want and need encouragement.
I recall when I was working on my first novel. At that time, I hadn’t written a lot of fiction, and the draft needed a lot of work. And yes, there were times when I didn’t want to share it with anyone. The comments and encouragement I received encouraged me to keep going.
Now that I have more experience, I enjoy offering feedback and encouragement to newer writers.
In a critique group, you form bonds and friendships. The people in your group will be with you through thick and thin. Yes, some may come and go, but over time, a core group will form. Together, you celebrate successes and sympathize over rejections. The bonds of friendship are priceless.
I believe smaller groups are best. Too many members equal too many opinions. I think a group of 3-5 people is best. Some choose to have a single critique partner rather than join a group.
Are you part of a critique group or have a critique partner? Please share your experience in the comments.