I’m a big advocate of writing critique groups. My group has moved me forward as a writer and improved the quality of my work. And everyone who attends regularly has improved, too. We encourage one another, celebrate our victories, and never have to struggle alone. Plus, they’re a great group to hang out with.
However, I recently received an email from someone who wasn’t so excited about his critique group. To summarize his chief concerns: many people weren’t taking their writing seriously, he only respected the comments of a few attendees, and he feared his writing would get worse if he kept on going. It’s been a year since he last went. I used to go to that group and understand his frustration.
A few days later I talked with another writer who dropped out of that same group for similar reasons. However, unlike my friend who emailed me, she joined a different group; it is functioning at a higher level and meeting her needs. She’s glad she made the switch.
Not all writing groups are the same. Aside from pursuing different goals, they can function at different levels. If you tried a group and dropped out frustrated, don’t give up on them, but look for a different one. If you can’t find one, start your own.
Are you part of a writing group? What’s your experience with writing groups?