Thursday, September 01, 2011

Writing Critique Groups and Their Importance

Tomorrow our writing critique group, the SGV Inklings, will gather at the home of the Inkling's musical talent, Mary Rice Hopkins. Working by the pool . . . sometimes it's too tough for words. I've been a part of this group for over twenty years now and the lessons I've learned, the input, the editing and encouragement has been invaluable. Your writers' group will never let you give up and they are even there to you lift you up when life throws those sour lemons, not to mention Satan's fiery arrows, right at your heart. I know for sure that my heart is not the only one scarred up.

How important is a writers group, you ask? Most writers, not all, probably won't get published without one. There's wisdom amongst a group of seasoned and published authors. Knowledge, connections, ideas, honest critique of your work, and fellowship with chocolate . . . I mean good food, and sometimes a song or two.

Tomorrow when we meet, we'll try to introduce our "elders" to the art of social networking. We've had a little bit of a snafu where the modern world has been held at arm's length (just a tad bit). I think this comes from not wanting to let go of a good thing (the physical book) and adding, or accommodating, the ebook generation.  

Well, sad to say (depending on your view, of course), the digital world is here to stay and businesses like Borders found out the hard way. They simply went out of business because they did not look far enough ahead. My kids are even buying their text books online and downloading them onto their Kindles or PCs.

All that to say, we'll take our laptops to Mary's house and I will have the chance to show them how and why to blog. Why, because most publishers want you to do your own advertising and promoting. A blog will show them, for example, if you have a following. Same with Facebook, Twitter and the now-almost-defunct MySpace. Much has been said about this social networking thing. Every writers conference has addressed it.

In any case, less than half our writers group has a blog, or even the non-interactive-never-updated website, and those of us who do, tend to not be very active. This, of course, is crucial. Content! Content! Content! Daily updates, or weekly is good. One must have good content. And I will tell the Inklings they have so much to write about. Honestly, we each get about 10 minutes to speak and we rarely only speak for ten minutes.

Subjects can include; parenting, family, children/teens,growing pains, relationships, public schools versus private schools, drugs (which leads to the subject of prayer), writing opportunities, devotionals, why we write in the genre we write in, pitching book proposals, how to pitch book proposals, where to pitch book proposals, writers conferences and why we go . . . all the time, our own Indie publishing house, healing in marriages, pain of divorce, ministries we're involved in, missions, retired missionaries, countries we've visited, life! And that's just to name a few. That's a lot of stuff to write about.

But I digress. The importance of Writing critique groups? It's where you find comfort, encouragement, knowledge, wisdom, information about the writing world and fellowship with people who think like you do. Hopefully tomorrow I'll be able to add knowledge about the digital world to my writing buds. We actually have set up a group blog for the San Gabriel Valley Inklings. It's a good start, I think. Tell us about your writing group. I'll put up a link if you like, in my blog directory. Happy writing.

Debby A.


    Tracy Krauss said...

    There is nothing like this kind of get together to spark the inspirational muse. Even if you don't get much writing or critiquing done, its good to congregate with like minded people and feed off each other's enthusiasm and passion.
    My group gets together once a month (ideal) but sometimes i can't make it or we skip a month.

    The Gatekeeper said...

    I couldn't agree with you more Tracy. It's the greatest think tank and place of encouragement for our writing.