Tag Archive | critique group

Please secure your own mask before helping others

As you can probably deduce by the length of time since my last post, I’m a smidge overwhelmed at the moment.  I have resumed writing (yay!) and also joined a second critique group.  I’ve been with an in-person critique group for years (we’ve gone through a couple evolutions, but some of the core people are still there) and really enjoy our every-other-week meetings.  Sometimes we meet at a house (usually mine), sometimes we Skype.  But it’s face time with fellow writers, reading stories that I want to help nurture and grow so they can be sent out into the world and make loads of money for my friends and I get a note in the acknowledgments.

A couple months ago, a former professor of mine said she was starting an online critique group.  I leapt at the chance to join this; she runs a wonderful class and I was really looking forward to getting feedback from her and the other people she invited to join.  However, I soon found what I’d long suspected: online critique groups are not for me.  I like being able to talk about the stories; trying to compress everything into “Track Changes” on Word and a couple paragraphs just wasn’t working for me.  I managed to keep up with the critiques, then got very overwhelmed with things in September with various life events.  I kept having to put off and put off writing the critiques and the longer I did so the more they weighed on my mind.  I couldn’t write because I felt guilty not responding to people who’d offered me such wonderful feedback with wonderful feedback of my own.  I spent two hours today holed up in my office working on critiques and still have two more to go.  I came to the conclusion that, even if feedback is reciprocal, I can’t take on too many critiques.  

So with a heavy heart I emailed the online critique group and explained that I was unable to continue with group, at least at the present time.  I do hope to rejoin at some point in the future; we have a LOT going on in our lives now, plus I am staring at the contest deadline.  But if the purpose of a critique group is to help with your writing, what good is it if you get so overwhelmed with other people’s manuscripts that you neglect or, far worse, are unable to write your own?   I’ll finish up these last two,  because they weigh on me so much I find myself incapable of working on my own things, and then return to my own work and my ONE critique group.  Two is just too many.

Work in Progress Wednesday!

I’m sure other writers use Wednesday for WIP posts, because there’s nothing writers like more than alliterative posts.  However, I am taking this opportunity to pimp my cousin’s site, where she blogs about crafty works-in-progress, like quilts and dollhouses.  Stop by if any of those things interest you.

I thought that I’d post about the office work in progress, especially since, because of the snow, my husband is home so we’re actually getting some things done during the week (gasp!).  However, I’m also putting the final touches on my current WIP, soon to be a WIP no longer but a finished project winging its way out into the world.

I’ve submitted this work to many, many places, editors as well as agents.  However, finishing it for the agent and giving her the go-ahead feels final in a way that it never did before. I find myself questioning things, like the name change.  There’s other things that I’d thought about tweaking, but I’m forcing myself to stop after I finish the name change and make sure that there’s no scenes that address the old name.

I let my critique group read the scene where I discuss the name change.  I’m very glad I did, as they came up with some very good points.  I cannot stress how important in-person critique groups are to me.  I’ve tried online over the years, but I find them impersonal, even when I’m very good friends with the person who’s doing the critiquing.  I like being able to bounce things around with my readers, and see what happens.  I think of things when I’m sitting at a table with a few other writers discussing my words that I probably wouldn’t think of on my own. 

Ta ta for now.  Next week I’ll probably resume office posts for WIPW, but for now, I must write!