Karen
Kelley
 Find a    Critique       Partner(s)

I love American Idol. This has to be my all time favorite show. I laugh and groan when some of the really awful singers audition. Are they deaf?

But can the same thing be said for writing? The hardest part about writing is not knowing if you’re any good or not.

I call the time period when I first started writing Ignorant Bliss. I wrote for the pure joy of writing. It was so much easier back then because I didn’t worry about grammar, smooth transitions, head-hopping, goal, motivation or conflict. My writing flowed beautifully. I was at the top of my game. Right there beside Nora Roberts, Johanna Lindsey, Bertrice Small....

Then I discovered critique groups.

My first critique didn’t go well. The group wasn’t that enthralled with my writing. In fact, it was the worst experience of my life. I vowed not to return.

It took me a few days to realize not only had they pointed out where I could strengthen my work, but they also pointed out my strengths. Suddenly, I felt like a writer!

By the time the next week rolled around I was on my way to critique once more. There was something inside me that just couldn’t keep me away: the thirst for knowledge, the need to get the words from my head to the paper.

Showing my work to anyone, other than family, was probably the hardest thing I ever did, but the thought of never going any further than writing for my own pleasure was unthinkable.

My third tip is finding a critique partner(s). A good critique person or group can show you where you might want to strengthen your writing. They can encourage you when things get rough, or when you feel like giving up. They’ll also be there to share in your joy when you win a contest or sell a book. Always remember, a good critique group won’t tear you down, and they won’t embarrass you.

Being in a critique group, or having a critique partner, might or might not work for you, but you’ll never know until you try.