Friday, April 2, 2010
I heart my group.
My plan to update the blog every day is not going so well. Things are awfully rough in my life right now, though, so I suppose that's to be expected! I'm keeping my chin up, though. Working on my novel is helping bolster my spirits tremendously.
I think it's extremely important for all serious writers to make regular use of critiques. It's true that we must develop the skills of self-critique. It's nigh on impossible to be an effective writer if you don't have some inkling of when you're doing really well and when you need to improve a scene, a passage, or a sentence. Or a word. However, it's also important to seek out the input of others whose opinions you can trust.
Lots of folks have great luck with finding critique partners online. I have certainly received some invaluable feedback from online critiques. However, I have had the best luck and the most consistent help with improvement from my weekly writers' group.
We meet every Thursday night at a local pub (chosen, I am told by the founding members, for its excellent food. And the food is excellent.) We order dinner and drinks if we're into that kind of thing (some of us aren't...usually) and after an hour or so of friendly chit-chat, we get to work reading and critiquing our weekly works.
I am the newest member of the group, and have been attending since early February. In that short time, I've learned more about producing clear prose than I've learned in the rest of my lifetime (and yes, I have been putting effort into writing well for nearly my whole lifetime -- since I was about eight years old, to be exact.) I am told fearlessly and helpfully every week what I need to fix about whatever short project I've brought for my dose of learning. I often tell my friends in the group that Thursday is the best day of the week for me. I look forward to receiving that feedback -- good or bad -- like nothing else.
So, you five readers ;), share your experiences with critiques and critiquers. I want to know how you all do it.