Today’s post by Tamara D. Fickas.

Source: Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot /

When I first decided to get serious about my writing, I had a lot of fear about letting others read what I wrote. Other writers told me I should join a critique group but I cringed at the thought. Willingly opening my precious words for criticism just wasn’t something I wanted to do. After all, when I looked up the word critique in the dictionary it mentioned criticism. Yikes. But, the verb form means to review or analyze critically. That’s just what critique groups do, they help people review and analyze their work.

Not every writer uses a critique group. Last year at the Novel Crafters Seminar Angela Hunt told the group that she doesn’t have a group. There you go, I thought to myself, if Angela doesn’t need one, why do I!?! Then my logical self said, “Angela’s been writing for way longer than you have and she’s published 120-some books.”

I came to realize that a critique group might really help me sharpen my writing. I also came to understand that if I never let others read my work God would never be able to use it for His good. Last summer I did relent and join a newly forming local group and I have to say that it’s been a good experience.

Some of the benefits I have witnessed in my group are:

  • Other eyes catch things like missing commas or too many commas (I tend to wobble back and forth on using commas – sometimes too many, sometimes not enough)
  • Someone who hasn’t worked the story over and over will often see holes in the story or where things don’t line up right
  • Encouragement when the going gets rough
  • Camaraderie with people who get me – non writers just don’t always understand what a writer’s life is like

If you’re interested in more info about critique groups offered by ACFW you can visit the web site via this link.