Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
And we’re revving up IWSG Day to make it more fun and interactive! Every month, we'll announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.
July 5 Question: What is one valuable lesson you've learned since you started writing?
One of the most valuable is to be much more careful about sharing my work.
I was a member of a small online critique group with a few absolutely wonderful women. Kind, generous, talented, thoughtful, insightful. Everyone brought something different to the table and I think we helped each other enormously.
A friend of one of the women asked to join the group and we agreed. She wasn't a good fit for me.
Her critiques were cruelty disguised as humour. She didn't have a single good thing to say. I'm not someone who needs false or effusive praise. I enjoy a crit buddy pointing out where I can improve and when something isn't working. I like the truth.
But, I couldn't handle her crit style. Her vicious comments hit me at a vulnerable time and it took me many, many months before I could face the keyboard with any joy. I slipped out of the critique group and backed away from sharing my words with anyone.
I've come to realize that the problem may have been hers, not mine. She didn't like the genre, didn't think humour belonged in romance, didn't like banter between the characters, didn't like the lack of description (she had a point there!), and wanted more introspection. Her complaints were more about a conflict in styles than a comment on my writing, but they were nasty. Thoughtful and encouraging advice I received from two agents at the same time helped me see that her critique was not only unnecessarily cruel, but not justified. Nonetheless, her words set me back a long, long way.
Now, I'm much more careful about crit buddies. And while I mourn the loss of the other members of the crit group, removing this woman from my circle was worth it.
How about you? Any crit buddy horror stories out there?