The Page a Day Writers Group

The Life of a Critique Group

Posted on: November 23, 2009

As we journey forward on our individual projects, we also navigate a path as a group. Just like any relationship, there are challenges. I have found at times that I feel unable to commit to giving feedback and have discussed this openly with the group. At various times each of us has been in a space to give more to the group, and at other times less.

But the beauty of this group is that we care about both the writing and the writer. Closeness ebbs and flows in any relationship and our group has the elasticity to allow each other varying degrees of commitment, recognizing that we all share in different and no less valuable ways. As a member who has stretched the bounds of commitment to the group, I’ve been touched by the unwavering welcome I’ve received.

Some groups see their sole goal as “shredding” manuscripts, allowing the writer to birth a phoenix from the ashes of the original. But I see myself more as a sifter than a shredder. Sift the good stuff and use it as a focus; then it’s not so painful to let go of the rest. Letting go is ongoing in writing and something I work on every day. Groups help each other let go of what’s not working and build on what is. 

 I’m learning a lot about critique from my writing class through San Diego Writers, Ink. It’s been a no-holds-barred revealing of what is moving the story forward and what is not moving it. When this comes from people you haven’t known over time it’s easier to be objective, for sure.

 It’s so valuable to remember that critique is given out of caring- that’s the purpose for the group in the first place, to truly help each other with our writing. And as Drusilla Campbell so deftly nailed me: “You’re uncomfortable with conflict, aren’t you?” Yup! And I must admit that’s part of why it’s hard for me to critique the group’s work.

 But I’m determined to face my fear. So shred away! Or sift. Whatever style feels best, I welcome it and am grateful for the time spent giving feedback.

Here are some great tips for critique groups:

http://seekerville.blogspot.com/2009/11/live-brainstorming-session-with.html

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Who are we?

The Page a Day Writers Group is a diverse collection of wonderful writers based in San Diego, CA. We've been meeting monthly since 2004. Our primary function is in-depth writing critique, marketing and brainstorming, but there's usually some wine, chocolate and ribaldry involved too. We write fantasy, humor, literary fiction, nonfiction, romance, thrillers and YA. Join us on our journeys to publication and the wonderland beyond!

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