Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’d like to talk about writing. I haven’t done a post on the craft in quite a while and I know it’s time. In this post, I’m discussing critique groups. Are they beneficial to writers?
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A good group is invaluable to a fledgling writer as long as they’re offering constructive criticism. Unfortunately, not everyone offers that. There’s always one person in the group whose main purpose is to just criticize. If they tell you your writing stinks but can offer no advice on how to improve it, then ignore them. Remember there’s always one 😉
What happens when you’ve gone to the group for a while and the only feedback they can give you is your story is good. This is awesome to hear, but it’s not constructive to improving your writing. Now, maybe your story is that good.
Or maybe, you’ve outgrown the group. They can’t move you beyond your current skill level. This happens and it’s not a bad thing, but if you want to continue improving you need to move on. It’s hard because you’ve developed relationships with these people and some have even become friends, but in order to grow, you must join a new group or find an expert who can tell you where your story is weak.
The question is, how do you tell when you’re ready to move on?
Here are some guidelines. The first one we’ve already discussed, but it bears repeating.
- When you get positive feedback, but you feel there’s still something missing in your story.
- When you leave the group meeting, frustrated because you didn’t receive any valuable feedback and this has been going on for quite some time.
- Your skill level has grown so much that you’ve become the expert in the group. Remember the old saying, “If you’re the smartest person in the room. You’re in the wrong room.” That applies to writing groups as well.
The second one is the biggest indicator. When you’re feeling frustrated, it’s time to move on. Now I know your next question is move on but where to? That’s when I’d make my way to social media and search for some experts. One that I’ve found to be invaluable is Kristen Lamb. The link to her blog is below.
Check her out, I’ve found her classes to be helpful as well as her advice.
In a few words, Kristen Lamb delivers.
There are other experts who can help you as well. Follow the hashtags #amwriting or #ontheporch on twitter and you’ll meet all kinds of experts who you’ll be able to establish a relationship with and go on from there.
Another expert who comes to mind is Angela Ackerman. Check out her website.
She offers all kinds of advice on the craft of writing and she’s frequently on Twitter chatting with writers. These people will help you hone your craft and if they can’t, they’ll be able to direct you to a person who can.
Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. Do you have any advice for writers trying to improve their craft? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!