I searched for three years. On my quest, as with finding any satisfying relationship, I kissed frogs, toads, newts, and the occasional salamander before I finally heard the angels sing.
Each critique group has a vibe, a personality, a purpose that provides benefits for the members. I wanted something aligned with my goals. The first gathering revolved around coffee, chatting, and offering reasons for not producing. Their coffee was a little weak. Participants at a different venue served as acolytes to a published author. I prefer coffee over Kool-Aid. One bunch focused on everyone feeling “good” about their piece and stipulated they did not permit “harsh words.” In my book, high quality, strong, black coffee, doesn’t need cream and sugar.
Another meeting started with a friendly chat, then they eviscerated my submission. I could have been offended. I could have argued, defended my writing, insisted they didn’t understand and accused them of being wrong about what they were reading. Instead, I kept my mouth shut and my mind open. Truthful, honest feedback, delivered without malice, is a precious gift. It is a remarkable transformational tool, and if you can endure it, you will gain much.
Others see areas for improvement when we cannot. Unfiltered opinions help us consider our narrative from the reader’s perspective. The right critique group offers the perfect sounding board for creating our best story along with encouragement, camaraderie, and the pleasure of enjoying an excellent cup of coffee.
Have you found your critique group?
Keep on writing.
Jo Hawk The Writer