Along with the hours I log as a freelancer, I also spend a considerable amount of time working on my first novel. I’ve lamented over my outline, filled out way too many character profiles, and pored over an unspeakable number of word choices contained in a handy tool I like to call Tyranno-thesaurus Rex.
But you know what has been the greatest resource for me as a fiction writer? My critique group.
I joined a critique group for fiction writers in December 2012, and it’s quickly become the highlight of my week. And guess what? There are critique groups for a myriad of writing pursuits: Fiction (just choose your genre), non-fiction, poetry — you name it. Here are the top reasons why my critique group is the best writing decision I’ve made lately:
We take turns submitting work. It’s one thing to have private word count goals (that I may or may not keep), but knowing that my turn is coming up and I’m almost out of work to submit holds me accountable. On top of that, we encourage each other to keep producing, submitting, and staying true to other goals (like ones related to publishing — a goal I look forward to meeting one day!).
Outside of my critique group, none of my friends writes fiction. It’s been wonderful to discuss road blocks and technical issues like plot, pacing, and point-of-view with others who broach the same challenges day after day.
I’ll admit it… sometimes I walk the fine line between introversion and hermitude (I made that last word up, much to Tyranno-thesaurus Rex’s dismay). Meeting other writers who have walked the path of publishing helps me make contacts and better prepare for that path when I arrive at it. They inspire and encourage me to be more involved in the business side of writing and help me navigate it.
So if you’re a writer of any kind and find yourself wishing for more of any of these things, I highly encourage you to join a critique group. You’ll be glad you did!