My friend @CateReads and I have started a writing critique group. We both decided that this is the year we need to focus on more than just writing stories. We need to spend time working on the craft of writing stories. Over the years we have both done various things to improve craft, but exchanging writing has been something we only played with a few times.
This year we pulled together some of our favourite local writers and convinced them to join us in a critique adventure. Everyone in the group already has multiple time commitments. The usual things like jobs, families, time to write, and other hobbies. To that end we are taking things slowly. To start we will review two pieces a month. At our current group size that means getting a review every two-three months. Somehow I ended up sharing in the first round. I will be sending out the first 3k of my Portal Fantasy before bed tonight.
I am always amazed at how hard it can be to hit the send button on a email that contains a piece of my writing. I shared an earlier draft of my YA Portal Fantasy with my mother early last year. It was (and I expect will be for a while) the hardest bit of my writing to send out. While hitting send is getting easier over time it still isn’t easy.
This time I am sending to another group of writers. The scary part isn’t sharing exactly. It is that they are going to tell me what they think. These are all people who will have no problem telling me what they enjoyed as well as what need works, but hearing that something you wrote kind of sucks (or more likely one part or aspect sucks) is still hard. Knowing that it is going to improve your writing overtime doesn’t make it that much easier. I am trying to look at it as both a good way to grow as a writer, and as a way to develop the thick skin everyone says you need if you ever want to publish anything.
Do you have a critique group? Is sending your writing out to other people intimidating or is that just me?