Sunday, September 18, 2011

Seeing the whites of their eyes

Have you ever said you'd do something months in advance and then when the day arrives you wonder what the heck you were thinking.

I can imagine some people who sign up for a marathon would feel this way, or if you decided to go back to school after you're married with three children.

For me it was a in person critique group.

In May my local SCBWI chapter put out a notice that they were going to start an in person critique group. I thought it was a great idea and promptly sent an email expressing my interest.

Fast forward three months.

Last Monday I got an email from Angela Ackerman (aka Bookshelf Muse) that we would be starting this week. I can't tell you how many excuses went through my head.

Then two days before we met I decided if I really want to be a writer, I needed to try this.

I have to admit I wasn't nervous about getting my own writing critiqued, I just didn't know if I had anything to offer other people. And really it's one thing to offer feedback in an email, quite another to look at them while you're doing it.

But I went... and you know what? It wasn't nearly as scary as I thought it would be. Angela was a great host and I learned a ton by reading other people's work. So I'm excited about this critique group. It may be just the thing that motivates me to write more than I have been lately.

What about you? Do you do most of your critiquing face to face or with your computer? Which do you prefer?


Laura Pauling said...

I think it's good to do. I prefer email with live chatting on the side to get to know one another. But I think with the right group face to face would work.

Andrea Mack said...

Good for you, Patti. Stepping outside the comfort zone is important to being a writer, I think. I have an online group and it works well for me, though it would be fun to have real time conversations.

Wendy Paine Miller said...

So excited for you! This is a huge and worthwhile step.

I like the computer. I'm a visual person and I take my time w/ manuscripts.

~ Wendy

Lynn said...

Good for you for taking that step out of your comfort zone. I've only done a CP group face to face. Although we have broken up now, it was a good experience. I do hope to be part of an online one this winter, though.

Anne Gallagher said...

I would kill to get into an in-person crit group. I would kill puppies to get into one with Angela.

I'm glad you enjoyed it. Take every advantage you can and stick to it. There's something about being "in-person" that just doesn't cut email.

Carolyn V said...

Most of mine is face to face with crit partners. Which I do prefer (because then I can ask them questions as to what they meant).

Carol Riggs said...

Good for you! I'm glad you gave it a whirl and found it wasn't as bad as you'd feared. :) I used to belong to a live group in the 1990s, and now all my critiquing is via email. I prefer it via email, but I miss the live interaction. For me, it's harder to come up with the right words said the right way when I'm in person and on the spot.

Robyn Campbell said...

You go, Patti! I am so proud of you and happy for you.

I have betas, but meet with Beth face to face.

YAY Patti! I know I'll hear great things about this group. WOW!! (((hugs)))

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I would KILL to be in a critique group with Angela Ackerman!!! I am SOOOOOO jealous--I kid you not. I'm glad you decided to go, Patti--I know you won't regret it. :-)

Jessie Oliveros said...

Online. Then you have time to react in privacy.

Holly Ruggiero said...

"It wasn't nearly as scary" - always good to hear.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

LOL You noticed I wasn't there. I prefer to do my crits online. :D

Heidi Willis said...

Good for you!! You are brave! :)

Did you have time to look at the pieces first? I can't do anything off the cuff. I'm just not smart enough.

But I do like reading stories first, formulating my thoughts, then going in to talk in person. It's like a book club.

I think it matters how positive people are, though. I mean, you don't have to love on a project, but some critiquers are just mean, and that's no fun, even if it is helpful. Good critique groups are positive in the way they critique.

mshatch said...

I tried to start a writers' crit group in my area but it's just too rural, I think, so I started blogging and now I trade crits via email and I love it. Still, it would be nice to connect in person with another writer once in a wonderful you signed up for that group!