The Best Thing about Critique Groups

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.

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13 thoughts on “The Best Thing about Critique Groups

  1. I agree completely! I love all that the ladies in my critique group do for my writing, but I love their friendship and support even more. Yeah, critique groups!!

  2. Well said, Sandy! Please know that we appreciate you to. Thanks for all you bring to the Write Ladies 4 Critique group.

  3. Yay for crit groups, especially ours! (But um…is it okay if we don’t have any deaths of crit group members anytime soon?)

  4. Also–you are my one crit group member I have actually met in person. My kids still remember you–Sandy’s your REAL imaginary friend, Mom! Even we have seen her!

  5. Yay, Suzanne!

    Rose — I love being your REAL imaginary friend. I love your kiddles more. And as far as the deaths, thankfully none in OUR group. But someone from my very first aol group died of cancer a couple years ago, and then my parents both passed and you all were there for me through both times. But us? Naw. We’re going to live forever, don’t you know? Through our stories and our words.

    Mikalena — yay for new critiquing friends.

  6. Yay for my Bqs – Sandy/Rose/Samantha. Definitely feel a stronger connection to you ladies (even though we’ve never met in person…yet) than to any other online groups I’ve belonged to. If we can understand each other and gel in the coldness of emails, imagine what a real in person meeting could do for us all! I celebrate Appreciate Critique Group Week with you all.

  7. Hi Sandy, this is Caro the Mouse from your online crit group of years ago. Thanks for inaugurating Appreciate Your Critique Group Week! I miss the regular contacts with you and the others, but when I hear from you or any of them, the familiar warm fondness floods my heart. I’m thrilled to know that you’ve kept writing. So have I, short stories about tweens and horses. And I have a blog too, but it’s about science careers, to help young people figure out whether such is right for them. Enjoy all the friendships in your life!

  8. I’ve been passing this around to so many friends with whom I’ve enjoyed
    critique groups, and almost forgot to thank you for starting it! I think we should do this every year, and I’ll do my part to help it along! Thanks so
    much, Sandy!

    • You are SO welcome, Barb. It just made sense to make it a week long (and annual) so I/we all get the chance to touch base with all our dear friends. (P.S. It was great seeing you when you came to Michigan the other year.) Spread the Writing Love.

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