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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Purpose Of A Critique Group

Last weekend I not only attended the Western Washington SCBWI regional conference, I also spent any and all free time in between with my Critique Sisters. In workshopping our novels I realized just how important they are to me and what being part of a critique group is all about. There is much more to it than just critiquing one another's work.

A good critique group acts as support when you need, helping to hold up the crushing weight of rejection by reminding you why you write and why you love it. They inspire you and push you to be better, guiding you on the path to accomplishment. On the other end of that spectrum they know when you need a kick in the rear to get you moving along or pull you out of a rut. When your work is not up to your capabilities they aren't afraid to tell you where you can improve it and help you achieve it.

Not every critique group works this way but I'm honored and thankful to say that mine does. These ladies aren't just my critique partners, they are my friends, supporters, cheerleaders, and my sisters. I'm honored to be a part of them and I hope each of you can find a critique group that serves as many purposes as mine does. To help you find the right critique group check out this Critique Group Questionaire.

32 comments:

  1. Oh Heather, Thank you! You know Linda and I are going to spank you for that pictures. lol.

    We have such an incredible group. I cannot tell you how you both have impacted my life. Your comments and support are incredible.

    What I love is the fact you can both give me a comment and then you allow my internal struggle to come out and I can argue with you. lol.
    "No... but this is "WHY" that must be there."

    You don't give up on me. You explain your feelings, thoughts, and we brain storm. You allow me to ask any questions on why you think that I should change something. I hear you.

    I don't change things because my group says so, but because my group helps me understand why something didn't work, and why something else is better.

    My work is so much stronger because of you both.

    Thank you so much!!!

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  2. From the girls at Kappa Delta Write we couldn't agree more!Every writer should have a support team. So glad you have this and can't wait to see your work hit the shelves! Awesome post!

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  3. Karlene, aw, you are so sweet! I feel exactly the same way. And that picture is beautiful! You two couldn't take a bad picture.

    Trisha, Kappa Delta Write, I love your crit group's name! You're so sweet, thank you.

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  4. Great post! I agree, Heather! I tried writing for years on my own. It was worse than lonely. There is nothing like having people in your corner who understand exactly what you're going through. And the support and encouragement are priceless. :)

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  5. Here, here!! So true, and well said, Heather. I'm so blessed to be a part of KappaDeltaWrite. :)

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  6. I love both of my critique groups. They're such an amazing source of support, encouragement, and tough love. My blog Sisters and I (from Sisters in Scribe) email each other multiple times per day--one texted me at work this week just to let me know I was a winner in a contest. I don't know what I'd do without them!

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  7. I don't have a group per se, but several partners. And I need them! They are so necessary in my writing life.
    Glad you had a good time!

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  8. Melissa, me too! I was so glad when I finally met my Critique Sisters. They were worth the wait, as all of you have been!

    Morgan, you're a Kappa Delta too! That's fantastic!

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  9. Kristi, two critique groups, that's excellent!

    Lydia, beta readers and partners are just as priceless! Great point, I should have mentioned them as well!

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  10. So true, Heather.

    CP'S and CG'S are invaluable! So glad you have Karlene and Linda on your side.

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  11. You are so fortunate! I'm so happy for you. And I love what you all share with the rest of us too! Christy

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  12. You are truly blessed, Heather! And absolutely right--this is exactly how a critique group should be. Not always easy to find, but when you do, hang on tight because a critique group like that is invaluable.

    So glad you had a great conference! :D

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  13. Michael, thank you! Me too!

    Christy, I truly am! Everyone should be so blessed!

    Carol, so true, worth hanging on tight too!

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  14. I'm not part of a crit group anymore, but I do have CPs that do everything listed here and more (including giving me chocolate). I love them to pieces (the CPs and the chocolate). :D

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  15. Stina, who wouldn't love CP's thaat give you chocolates?! Awesome!

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  16. Heather, you are an inspiration, not to mention outstanding supporter, critiquer and friend, and I'm feeling very productive (and balanced!!)after a great weekend of laughter, wine, chocolate and lots of workshopping. You and Karlene keep me focused and believing in myself. Thankyou!

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  17. I don't know what I'd do without my CP -- she morphs from cheerleader to beta reader to line editor as I need her, she's brilliant!

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  18. Great post, Heather! You are blessed. CPs/critique groups are *so* important, but as your excellent questionnaire demonstrates, the challenge is finding the right partner(s). Thus far, my group experiences have been lackluster, but I do have a CP I can't do without, and I'm hanging on for dear life. :)

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  19. I'm not part of a group, but I could not funtion without my CP!

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  20. Linda, you're so welcome! You both do the same for me and I appreciate you more than I can ever say. :)

    Amie, she sounds like the perfect CP!

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  21. VR, they are incredibly hard to find, sad but true. I'm so glad you found an excellent CP!

    Renae, even one is worth their weight in gold!

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  22. TOTALLY agree!! I don't know what I'd do without my critique group!! They are my life line. My BFFs. My support. My fresh eyes.

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  23. I've read a lot of good things about critique groups! :) I've never been part of one or had someone look at my work, though.

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  24. Lisa, life line, I love that! What a great way to put it! Fresh eyes and support are so important!

    Golden Eagle, you'll have to try it someday! It's amazing as long as you find the right group of people.

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  25. Sounds like fun. I'm going to the Dakotas SCBWI conference in May, but I won't know anyone there.

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  26. Speaking form personal experience I have to say that the right critique group can really help one to grow as a writer, and thankfully the internet makes it really, really easy to find or start a critique group.

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  27. Chris, Just relax, have fun, and ask people what they write. That's the BEST conversation starter at a conference! Have fun!

    Alissa, so true! The internet does amazing things for writers!

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  28. This is so true! I just had my crit group meeting last night, and we spent the first hour catching up on everyone's news and offering support. They're my friends AND my crit partners. Both are equally valuable.

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  29. It sounds like a great group and idea. I’ll have to look into finding a group. I tell you, having this little one really threw me out of the loop for almost an entire year, but she’s worth it and I’m back now. :-) Maybe I can find one with people who have babies/young kids & teens. That way I can learn balance of family and book life.
    Happy Writing,
    Sarah Winters

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  30. Elana, I love those face to face meetings where the group has a chance to catch up, priceless! I'm lucky to call my group friends as well!

    Sarah, I can definitely see how a little one would complicate things! There is a group out there for you, I'm certain of it!

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  31. Heather! I was at the same conference-flew down with a good (and trusted) writing friend. I so know what you mean about finding that perfect match. It's truly a blessing and glad you have it, too! All best to you and your "pardners"!

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  32. My critique partners tend to change over time. In the past I've had a number of college students who tend to be busier with studies then writing. I wouldn't mind meeting and critique partnering with some in a later stage of life sometime.

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