Why Find a Writing Critique Group?
You’ve written your first book, but you don’t know if it’s any good. That is the beginning of my story. The Lord had been nudging me to start writing for years. After much prayer and consideration, I finally started writing. I researched and I wrote. Then, I researched some more and wrote some more. Once I thought my book was complete, I started sharing it with my husband and friends to give me feedback. Husbands and friends are awesome, aren’t they? They always have your back and are super supportive. I needed feedback not only from family and friends, but also people I didn’t know and other writers.
Months later, I joined my local Christian writing group, Heartland Christian Writers. What a blessing! They taught me about point of view, avoiding “ly” words, not repeating the same words over and over again and more. I started to grow as a writer. I prayed over my book, decided my story was ready and began submitting to a few publishers and agents.
And more silence.
Finally, a rejection. Not what I wanted to hear. I had learned so much and come so far. Perhaps I still had more to learn. After talking with an author friend, I realized I needed to join a writing critique group specifically for my genre. My local writing group was excellent for all kinds of writing; however, nobody wrote children’s books. The world of writing children’s books can be a very different world from writing young adult books or magazine articles.
My first book is a Christian children’s picture book, so I started seeking out that specific type of writing critique group. I wanted to find a group where I could fit in as a beginner but learn from those who have published. A friend told me about Word Weavers. She loved her critique group through Word Weavers and was learning a lot. I was nervous to hear what these professionals may say about my book. However, Word Weavers uses the sandwich method to give feedback, which encourages and teaches at the same time. The sandwich method involves saying something positive, giving the meat of your critique, and ending with something positive.
My Christian children’s book critique group through Word Weavers over the past couple months has been enlightening and challenging. The bible teaches that, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17). We need others to sharpen our character and our writing. God will work through others to grow us stronger in different areas of our lives. So, why not try a writing critique group? I know it is nerve-wracking. Take a deep breath, pray, and go for it!