Writing is a solitary occupation. Many hours are spent listening to characters speak in your mind, choosing the right words, and analyzing everything that goes down on paper or a Word document.
A critique group is a group of writers who can make the job a little less lonely and help you polish your manuscript. Being part of one provides a network of people who understand the world of a writer. Their experiences, knowledge, and thoughtful insights can provide a fresh perspective and help you see things you may have never thought of or noticed.
Another benefit is that a critique group can provide motivation and encouragement. When rejection letters come or writer’s block hits, it’s nice to have people who understand and are there to help you get back on your feet. Being part of the group also makes you more accountable and provides motivation to write something. Many critique groups offer special writing retreats for their members which provide big chunks of time for writing and hanging with writer friends.
How do you find these groups? Look for local writing groups or join organizations related to your genre. There may be membership fees, but the benefits are well worth it. If you live in the Atlanta area, check out Atlanta Writers Club. If you are a children’s writer, check out SCBWI.
You can also search for groups on Twitter and Facebook, join the blogging community by starting a blog and following other bloggers (many of whom are writers), or seeing if there are writer events at local bookstores and libraries. Attending these can help you make connections.
Finding a critique group and meeting regularly can help you become a better writer and open the door to some wonderful friendships.