The best thing about being in a critique group is that they help make your writing sparkle. WRONG! That sure is a great thing about a critique group, but not the best.
The best thing is that they point out big things like plot structural errors or character flaws (of your fictional characters, not your own). WRONG again! That is a very essential part of critique partners, but still not the best.
The best thing is the writing encouragement you get during all your slump times. WRONG! It’s quite true that some weeks or months, if it weren’t for my critique group, I wouldn’t be doing any writing (outside of journaling and blogging, which really are and really aren’t writing).
THE BEST THING about being in a critique group is (drum roll, please) the intense friendships developed.
The very nature of writing is solitary work. You work alone, except for the rare collaborations. There you sit by yourself, pen or keyboard in hand, wrapped up with just your characters and you placed in all sorts of dire situations, and when you’re “brought back to reality,” you look around trying to figure out where and who you are. (Well, that’s a common scenario for me, anyway.) But when involved in a critique group, every week, year after year, you hold onto hands with these unmet (if online) friends, with whom you go through births, sicknesses, moves across states or countries, tornados, floods, marriage, divorce, death of friends or family or even fellow critique group members. “Life is what happens to you while you write” is certainly true. But you’re never disconnected with reality and never lacking from inspiration. My critiquing friends are my lifeblood to both my writing and reality.
I hereby delare this week Appreciate Your Critique Group Week!
Go be thankful.