Tuesday, October 27, 2015

How to Create a Killer Critique Group

One of the best things you can do for your writing career is surround yourself with other authors. Authors ahead of you on the publishing journey. Authors at your same level. Authors you'd love to be one day. Reading is just as important as writing as you hone your craft and a critique group is a fabulous way to make sure you're doing both on a regular basis.

To find potential critique group partners, attend conferences, join online groups, go to local library events. You'll probably have to be brave and introduce yourself. You'll likely need to put out some feelers and you should be prepared that some people you ask may decline. That's okay. Keep asking. You'll find your people. I'm suggesting 4-6 per group, but you can play around to see what feels right to you.

As you get going with your meetings/manuscripts exchanges, make sure to continue the dialogue about your goals. Try out these questions to start:

  • Are we happy with the frequency of group meetings/emailed manuscript exchanges?
  • Is the online/in-person format working for everyone?
  • Do we feel supported and encouraged when we leave our meetings/read the feedback?
  • Is it important that the group focus on a specific genre?
  • Are we moving at the same pace? 
  • Do we all have similar levels of time/energy available to devote to the group?  
  • How are we meshing/not meshing as a team?
  • Is there anything we've overlooked? 
A good critique group will feel like home. It should be a place where you can stretch, take risks, live through your setbacks and celebrate your success. Keep talking to each other. Keep adjusting. Keep being as specific as possible about what you'd like to gain from your critique group and be honest about what you are willing to give. I promise it'll be worth it. Happy critiquing everyone!

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