A good critique is worth more than a pat on the back

Lots of writers are in groups, but not all of these are critique groups. I know one where the members read their work to each other, say lots of nice things and then eat supper. This is a support group, not a critique group. But it’s possible to be in a critique group that damages your writing, and your self-confidence. So what should a good critique from your fellow members offer? Constructive criticism, phrased in a way that is not harsh, condescending or a personal attack. The … [Read more...]

50 ways to leave your writers’ group

Are there 50 ways to leave? Apparently the song says there are when it comes to lovers, but groups aren’t so … straightforward. For a start, there are more of them. Instead of fronting up to one person, you might have to face four, or six, or sixteen. But if you are certain that the time has come to leave, then you have to do it, mainly to save your writing. You might be leaving because the group has failed to deal with a bad egg (and in that case it might be a sinking ship already – excuse … [Read more...]

How to find a writers’ group

One of the key questions to ask is what kind of writers' group are you looking for? Do you want a supportive, more social group where you can share ideas, do writing exercises and talk about writing? Or do you want a critique group where you give (and get) feedback on your work-in-progress on a regular basis? There are also levels in between these two. As well, you might want a group that focuses on one kind of writing - children's books, for instance, or fantasy. Or you might be after a … [Read more...]

Why join a writers’ group?

In these days of “interaction everywhere”, mostly online or via mobile phones, the idea of a writer tucked away in a lonely garret is appealing. Peace, quiet, focus, no internet. And the truth is, a writer still needs to be alone to write. Alone inside their head. And to get that alone-ness, you often do need total solitude. I find I can write in cafes these days – there is something about general chatter that is easy to cut off from. Chatter from a spouse or child is a different matter! But … [Read more...]