I'm not new to talking, sharing ideas, or stating my opinion, especially stating my opinion! After all, I taught elementary school for 30 years! However, my audience has typically been smaller,just family, the classroom, or just talking to myself!

My blog has two goals: be an outlet for sharing thoughts on writing children's books and the path to publication (got my fingers crossed that I'll get there) and a place to chronicle my journey of losing my sight. Sometimes I imagine these two paths will overlap .

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Write from the Soul


      All writers, I think, go through times when they feel insecure about their writing skills. (Well maybe not awesome writers like Jane Yolen or Patricia Polacco, or Mo Willems.) That's one of the reasons I like having a critique group. Even though these fellow writers are telling me things that need to be improved in my story, they're doing so because they want my writing to be the best it can be. And that's a really positive, affirming place for me. It makes me want to write better.

       So, keeping that in mind, you'll understand why I'm disappointed with my local critique group. I joined this group a year ago and became the 4th member. One of the originals dropped out, and then we were three. True to my teacher, I'm-in-charge personality, I became the motivator, the reminder of meeting dates, the suggester of changes to make us more efficient and get more manuscripts worked on in our monthly meeting. I even brought 3 more people into the group.

And over the past 3 months, the group seems to be collapsing.

Instead of 6 people showing up, it was 4. One month, it was just 2 people. Is it me???????????????  Doesn't anyone else realize how vital a critique group is for a writer?

     Or maybe, some of them are just discouraged because the writing process that leads to publication can take a long, long time. Like 4 years, or 6 years, or more. I've been writing for 3 years now and I'm finally at the point where I think my writing is worthy of publication. (Of course, that hasn't been verified by too many editors or agents yet!)

      Maybe my fellow critiquers are feeling insecure about their writing. There's a good reason to show up for the writers group; we can make them feel supported and encouraged.

     Or maybe, I need to find some more people to join us......


  1. Hey Gail:

    I can feel you on the critique group thing. The problem with my critique group was scheduling. We could never get our schedule right. Consistency is the key to a good critique group.

    I'm taking the summer off but hope to join up with my critique group in the Fall.

    Maybe you could find some people via SCBWI Southern Breeze?

    Finding a good critique group is almost like finding a husband -- but when you find one they are worth their weight in gold!

  2. It's hard to find people who are committed at the same level, or in a place in their life where they can be. Keep working at the group, and it'll get whittled down to a good one.

    I agree though, critique groups are vital!

  3. First let me say I've been member, leader, moderator of an online group and in all the groups we've had down times. People have day jobs, family, sickness, etc
    First important thing is make rules and if someone isn't following them... say something
    Second, be understanding and explain how important the give part of a critique group is and that if life has got too hard maybe they need to take a leave from the group.

  4. I think sometimes with crit groups life gets in the way. We have all the balls in the air, so the easiest one to drop is the writing.
    Having said that, I am grateful to my cp for help with my writing. :)

  5. It's difficult sometimes to fit everything in, but I agree with you about the importance of a crit. group (as you saw on my post today). Hang in there, and look for a few more members. :-)

  6. It is hard to find crit partners that mesh well. And then there's time, and committment levels, and differences in experience and ability...makes you wonder how any crit groups can keep together!

  7. I understand your pain, Gail. I run two online critique groups right now, and one seems to be withering on the vine. That said, I know some of the members have major life issues preventing them from contributing as much as they did in the past. We decided to take the month of July off, and then when we come back in August we can reassess the status of the group and its members.

    I hope it all works out for you.