Monday, March 3, 2008

Trust and Respect: Songs for Writing Groups

"I am irritated by my own writing. I am like a violinist whose ear is true, but whose fingers refuse to reproduce precisely the sound he hears within."—Gustave Flaubert
Trust is vital for a healthy writer's critique group. Another key is respect, which means—
* to feel or show esteem for
* to honor
* to show consideration for: avoid violation of
* willingness to show consideration, appreciation.

Thinking the best of each other and each person’s critique is the only way a writer's group will thrive and your writing will improve. If a critical or negative spirit invades your group, it’s dead. Period.

Yet, “critique” means “to be able to analyze or judge in a detailed way.” I need my writers group to help draw out the sound within. I prefer to hear their feedback rather than receive a list of changes from an editor.

Receiving a Critique

What are your expectations and attitudes when you submit a manuscript? How you perceive pain or receive critiques determines your success as a writer.

Will it hurt? Yes.
When will it feel better? When you…
* accept the fact that pain is part of the process
* look forward to seeing red ink
* rewrite a better manuscript
* are published.

Receiving constructive feedback prepares you to interact professionally with the publishing world. When an editor asks for changes prior to publication, it will not be devastating—it is just business.

Do not apologize or feel embarrassed by your writing. Accept where your skill level lies and improve it. Even gifted writers must hone their writing skills. Successful writers look for ways to improve their communication and writing skills.

Remember: If you are in a professional critique group, you are there to receive feedback, to improve your writing skills and to polish your manuscript for publication.

Our group is productive because my critiquers sing their strengths into my manuscript, cancelling out my out-of-tune weaknesses. I appreciate how my fellow critiquer's contribute to my song. Their tune-ups make my writing sing.


NathanKP said...

This is good advice. First of all, no one should critique in a way that will unduly hurt another's feelings.

But then again, be willing to accept the critique.

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Tiffany Stuart said...

The best part about critiquing is the way you two make my writing go from good to great! And the best part of meeting together each week is our growing relationships.

Love you ladies.

Debbie said...

I am so excited to have found this blog and will definetely be back.
I have learned so much from feedback from fellow writers in my writing group. This is good resource for critiquing. Thanks God Bless