Sunday, March 11, 2012

Have you hugged your critique group today?

My husband and I went to Old Navy yesterday, and an employee handed me a rolled up piece of paper in honor of an event they were having for women. The paper said, "We think you're perfect just the way you are."


Very nice sentiment, though it made me chuckle. I realize I'm missing the point, but it's completely meaningless. Nobody there knows me, my little paper scroll was one of many that said the exact same thing, and it was handed randomly to me.


That said, nobody wants to be critiqued as they walk into a store. Imagine how traumatic shopping would be if store employees handed out slips of paper that said things like "You really shouldn't have been so grouchy this morning," "Tweezers are your friend," or "Ever heard of a breath mint?" Yeah, I'm totally fine with my "We think you're perfect just the way your are" note from Old Navy. But at critique group? That wouldn't fly. That's tweezer-, breath mint-, Clearasil-,
fill-in-the-ugly-fixer-time.

This week I have a critique group meeting. I love my critique group! Like you in your groups (or with your beta readers), we read each writer's pages, really think about them, and give thoughtful feedback on what's working and what's not. It's meaningful, and we learn from it. I leave our meetings fired up, eager to improve my work-in-progress as soon as I get home. I hope to give as much as I receive, though that's a tall order since I receive so much.


Critique partners support us and guide us whether we're soaring or sinking in a business that can have the highest highs and the lowest lows. They're priceless. Thankfully, our critique groups
critique and make us better writers. They don't blow sunshine our way and tell us our work is perfect the way it is.

Here's to our critique partners, the awesome people in the trenches with us, the ones who are watching our backs--and our saggy middles! Feel free to give a shout-out to yours!


I'll start! Thank you, Margaret and Jen! You two are brilliant! xo

18 comments:

The Pen and Ink Blog said...

I plan to hug my critique group Tuesday night. I cannot express how grateful I am for their support or how happy I am that we share a blog.
Susan at Pen and Ink

The Pen and Ink Blog said...

I plan to hug my critique group Tuesday night. I cannot express how grateful I am for their support or how happy I am that we share a blog.
Susan at Pen and Ink

Laura Pauling said...

I've given them virtual hugs! yay for crit partners!

Steven J. Wangsness said...

I think I'm too fragile for a critique group. I have to save the criticism for after I've finished the book. Or otherwise I think I'd be too paralyzed to finish.

Angelina C. Hansen said...

Yes. I'd be lost without the feedback from my readers. They're golden.

Wendy Paine Miller said...

Oh I have learned so many amazing things from my cps. It's changed the course of my writing career.
~ Wendy

Jennifer K. Mann said...

So true, so true--I don't know where I would be without my critiquers! I'll pack my tweezers tomorrow! (better write something worth critiquing, too!)

Margaret Nevinski said...

Dawn and Jen, I'm honored to be in your critique group. Can't wait for tomorrow!

Sherrie Petersen said...

My group meets a week from tomorrow and I can't wait. I love those women more than words can say!

Laura Marcella said...

That's so sweet! My critique partners are blog buddies and/or live a couple states away but I'll send them a virtual hug!!

Ghenet Myrthil said...

I love my CPs too! I'm so thankful that they can be totally honest with me in a straightforward, but still nice, way. :)

Stasia said...

Yes, yes, yes! Great post, Dawn!

Faith Pray said...

This is great! I definitely don't want to know what Old Navy really thinks of me, or the paper platitude. What a funny thing. How do you get your critique pals to look at novel-length manuscripts, out of curiousity? Have fun this week! Great post!

Dawn Simon said...

What great comments! :)

Steven, some groups wait to share until the full manuscript is written. I know some authors don't have crit groups, but finding a group like that might be an option if you're wanting one. I'd be lost without mine.

Faith, for novels my group and I go chapter by chapter--or a couple chapters at a time. If someone is in the polishing phase, we often look at more.

Amy L. Sonnichsen said...

I wish I could hug my critique partners in person, but they're all over the globe! ((Virtual Hugs to all of them)) That's such a funny Old Navy story. You're right, that is a meaningless campaign. I'd feel the same way: "Thanks, total stranger!" :)

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

aw that was sweet :)

Old Kitty said...

I want to shop in Old Navy! I want these pick me up lovely cards with a free muffin! :-)

Awww yay for great CPs and Writerly groups! When you find the right ones - you hang on to them! Take care
x

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I drove five and a half hours last weekend to see my critique partner...Susan Fields. It was great to see her and hang out for a bit. :)