I met with my critique group this morning. We’ve been meeting for over a year now. It is actually just two of us (down from three), despite several attempts to grow the group. Even with the just the two of us, I have really gotten a lot out of it and will be eternally grateful for the momentum and confidence it has given me to keep writing. However, this month, I hastily prepared something last week for today’s meeting and went into the session today feeling like maybe we should just do online critiques when we had material ready to share. That way, we didn’t have to feel pressured to meet each month, but could so when more convenient for each other or when we had something pressing we needed critiqued.
Then, we got started… and the fun and magic that happens when more than one writer gets together took place. We started exchanging information about the industry – events, blogs, articles, and then got into specific questions about craft. She had brought the first chapter of a series book for me to critique. Turns out, I have yearned to start my own chapter series for a year now, but haven’t had the courage to get started. The whole idea seems overwhelming compared to the picture book and board book manuscripts I’ve written. The session today gave me an opportunity to ask her questions, and even better, she gave me some really great guidance. Then, we broke into a great critique session over two manuscripts that we each shared. I really enjoyed contributing constructively to her piece (which I really enjoyed). I felt a rush in coming up with ideas and proposing solutions to the writing challenges she was having in the document. It seems that focusing my mind on someone else’s work can be quite productive for one’s own work. And one’s self-esteem. I felt really proud of what I was contributing and realized I do have a good writing mind.
At the end of the meeting, she told me she was really glad we met today because she was feeling unmotivated. She shared that the meeting got her excited to keep writing. I couldn’t agree more!
Do you participate in any critique groups? What are some things you do to keep them moving you forward in your writing each month?