Reasons vary as to why writers gather together to give and receive critique. Here are mine.
- My husband doesn’t want to hear me read chapter 38. Oh, he’d dutifully listen if I asked, but waiting at my critique group are a bunch of writers who won’t grimace when I pass my pages around the table. They listen and cheer me on and give me honest feedback They want my story to succeed.
- Writing accountability. It’s the kick in the pants, the “Why haven’t you been writing lately?” aspect that I need when motivation wanes.
- A finely tuned ear. Reading our work out loud is not about an ego trip, as some critique group hates claim. It’s about listening to the rhythm and cadence of the sentences as they build one upon another to form a story. It’s for catching mistakes and word repetition. After all, one of the single most repeated pieces of advice for writers is simply: Read your work out loud.
- Hanging out with other writers. I’d be lying if I said it was just about the writing. The camaraderie is important to me. Other writers understand the ins and outs of the writing life, from writer’s block to rejection slips to marketing woes to mediocre reviews. There is also the creative energy that comes from a roomful of writers gathered around the table.
- The thrill of the page. Most important to me is the excitement of words on the page, the raw creative material fresh from the mind of a writer. How can I help my writer friends make their work the best it can be? What can I do with the feedback they’ve given me to create a compelling story? Stimulating discussions ensue. My pulse quickens. This is why I do what I do.
Writers need to discover the process that works best for them. I’ve found mine. Come Thursday night, you know where you can find me.