It took me a long time to get into a writing group. For too many years, I relied on the feedback of my friends and family who, as much as I love them, know little to nothing about writing and even less about critiquing. For a long time, part of me was scared of what an honest, qualified critique of my writing would bring. But now, I’ve seen that what it does bring is great improvement to my writing as I’m forced to face the hard facts of what I need to fix and what I need to cut, and as I’m motivated to keep going by other people who are in the same boat as me.
So here’s what I’ve learned about the benefits of a small, consistent writing group:
1. They get used to your style and start catching the mistakes you consistently make.
2. You get used to their style of critiquing and start to know exactly who to go to for the questions you have and the problems you can’t figure out how to solve in your writing.
3. They know how many versions of your story you’ve gone through and what the old versions looked like and they can appreciate and celebrate with you the improvements you’ve made as you’ve gone along.
4. They also celebrate with you when you achieve any level of success in your writing.
5. You can commiserate together over the struggles of writing and talk about how you get past resistance and writer’s block, etc.
6. After a fun meeting with them, you feel energized and excited about writing. It doesn’t feel quite a lonely as it did before.