My first critique group

I joined a monthly critique group at our community college and the first session was Tuesday night. I was sweating with excitement and nerves from the possibility of being either publicly praised or ridiculed!

It wasn’t so bad after all. I only got to read a couple of paragraphs of Elisha for my first meeting, but next month I can bring five pages for critique. I got a little helpful feedback, but again, I was only able to read the very opening hook, so it’s hard to say. Reading it out loud was anxiety-producing, since I didn’t have Maxwell read it to me beforehand.

Our instructor/facilitator is a published author who wrote a book that was actually featured on Oprah a number of years ago, and she has another book coming out next week. To sweeten the deal, one of the group members is part of a few other local writing groups, so I might be able to pick up another meeting this Saturday.

Being critiqued face-to-face is totally different than online. Not worse, not better, just a different perspective. The bad thing is, the others in the group can see my face turn beet red when I get a tough critique!


9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. dayner
    Mar 12, 2010 @ 11:19:33

    I don’t remember but I can say, you’re braver than I. My emotions always show on my face and even when things don’t bother me so much my face would still turn bright red. I can relate.
    I’m sure it will get easier once you’re more familiar with the group.
    I suggest you put some distance between yourself and the critique so you can consider it objectively before making any changes. I also suggest (if they allow it) you take a small digital recorder so you remember all the suggestions once you start doing serious edits.
    I excited to see how your next meeting goes.


    • kathanink
      Mar 12, 2010 @ 14:06:09

      You know, because I was a writer for my job, I was publicly flogged on more than one occassion! :-p At least once a week I’d sit in meetings and have pretty much everything revised by ppl who didn’t know squat. I learned to take it and a few times others actually said me, “How do you take all the criticism without getting mad or defensive?”

      So funny, even though the rules were laid out before the group that we weren’t supposed to respond during a critique (to defend our writing or whatever), every person except me responded in one way or another. I realized afterward that getting a critique from these guys, when they really are trying to be nice and helpful, wasn’t so bad after all.

      AND I realized…there’s a big difference between critique and criticism!


  2. dayner
    Mar 11, 2010 @ 15:34:33

    I sent a comment earlier. Did you get it?


  3. Natasha
    Mar 11, 2010 @ 14:36:14

    Good for you for taking this step! Let us know how it works. I’d love to find a face to face writing group that felt right for me, but haven’t yet.

    BTW — we’re switching my blog URL to so if you could update the link on your blogroll I’d appreciate it. The old link will continue to re-direct to the new URL for a while. This will help keep my writing related stuff from other stuff. Thanks!


  4. darksculptures
    Mar 11, 2010 @ 12:36:13

    You’re a brave one! Face to face does seem like it would be more difficult. I’m glad you are getting the most out of it.

    I think I’m going to take a slightly different approach and work toward a personal coach. But like I said before, I have much more to learn before then.


    • kathanink
      Mar 11, 2010 @ 13:05:34

      Ooooh, a personal coach! That sounds like a great idea. I wish I could afford something like that, it sounds awesome. You’ll have to keep us posted on how that goes.


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