Many years ago, my critique group formed out of an online writing workshop. It’s difficult to imagine where my writing would be without them. In all likelihood, I wouldn’t be as motivated as I am today without their encouraging words and critical readings of my stories. Critique groups can be especially helpful for supporting writers through hard times. If it weren’t for my critique group, I would find it impossible to get back on the horse, so to speak, after particularly difficult rejections.

Joining a critique group can be an especially intimidating experience. However, stories are not created in a vacuum. It’s important for every writer, on any level, to have a vehicle for feedback and support.

Here are some things I’ve learned to look for in a critique group:

  1. It’s important to have an encouraging place, be it online or in person, where people’s ideas are built upon rather than knocked down.
  2. A critique group works best with people that are open to feedback and are open minded in general.
  3. A critique group should be built on trust and empathy.
  4. Avoiding phrases such as “you did this,” and instead using words like “I think” ensures that the comment does not come across as harsh or blaming the author.

Overall, it is important to consider the feedback that critique groups can provide. But it’s also important to remember that it’s not necessary to utilize every single piece of critique provided. Ultimately, the story is yours.

What critique group experiences have you had, and what have you learned from them?

Featured image by Startup Stock Photos.

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