Monday, April 14, 2014

Do I Need A Critique Group?

by Andrea Merrell

Critique—a word that causes fear in the hearts of otherwise brave writers—produces tremendous results. It’s the best way to know you’re on the right track, and the easiest method to get face-to-face advice and direction from other professionals. When I meet with writers, especially those at the beginning of their journey, I hear a number of excuses for not connecting with a critique group. Here are the most common.

I'm Too Busy 

If you have time to write, you must take time to get feedback from others. The writer’s journey involves a huge commitment of time. Conferences, workshops, and online courses are important, but being part of a group is one of the best ways to learn and get inspired. Sometimes you can gain more in a few brainstorming sessions than by years of classes.

I'm Too Shy 

If you desire to be published--or even share your writing with friends and family--you will need to overcome the shyness and pray for boldness. Writing involves networking, marketing, and speaking. Take hold of your passion and let it drive you.

 I Don't Know How to Find One 

Check with your local Christian bookstore to see what they recommend. If a local group is not available, find one online. If all else fails, start a group yourself.

I Don't Handle Criticism Well 

Don't think of a critique as criticism. Think of it as a way to hone your skills and perfect your craft. Remember that the goal of the group is to help you, not tear you down. Develop a writer's rhino skin and always be open and teachable.

The Bottom Line 

Being part of a good critique group will help you overcome your fears, prepare you for conferences, and help get your manuscripts polished and ready for submission. We all have a lot to learn and the process will never end.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (TEV) tells us that, Two are better off than one, because together they can work more effectively. If one of them falls down, the other can help him up. Don’t take this journey alone. Find others to come alongside you to make the experience educational and fun.

For more writing and editing tips, check out Andrea’s new book, Murder of a Manuscript, (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas 2014) now available from Amazon. 

Andrea Merrell is a freelance writer and editor living in the beautiful upstate of South Carolina. She is Associate Editor for Christian Devotions Ministries and Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. Andrea has led workshops at the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference (KCWC), Writers Advance Boot Camp, and The CLASS Christian Writers Conference in New Mexico. Her work has been published online and in numerous anthologies. Andrea’s next book, Praying for the Prodigal, will be released by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas in 2015. To learn more about her, visit her website:

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