Tuesday, December 3, 2013

9 REASONS TO SAY GOODBYE TO YOUR WRITING CRITIQUE GROUP

image found here
Where would we be without community? Writers and other creators especially need the company of other writers and creators. It helps us feel like maybe we're not all that crazy after all. Or, maybe we are, and isn't it wonderful?

Writing critique groups are one form of community, and they can feed the creative spirit and help improve skills. But every now and then these groups sour. It's no one's fault -- it's just part of growth. And like any other relationship that once was good but now isn't, leaving can be stressful and painful. Yet it must be done.

Here are some indicators that it's time to protect your creative life and walk away:

1. You can predict the responses of the members - and sometimes you are thinking of their responses when you are writing.

2. You've become something like a dysfunctional family, with resentments and alliances and unhealthy competitiveness.

3. Everyone's work begins to sound the same.

4. The workshop has become a substitute for publication -- the group has become your sole readership.

5. You don't actually take anyone's advice when you sit down to revise, or you don't revise at all.

6. You lose confidence in your work after hearing the group's opinions.

7. You are reluctant to share your tender new idea for fear of the group's response.

8. You grow impatient with other members for not taking your advice.

9. You attend out of habit or obligation rather than passion.

And finally, this, from Twyla Tharp's THE COLLABORATIVE HABIT: LIFE LESSONS FOR WORKING TOGETHER:

“I can't emphasize this idea enough. 

Getting involved  

with your collaborator's problems 

almost always 

distracts you from your own. That can be tempting. 

That can be a relief. But it usually leads to disaster.” 

6 comments:

  1. Lesson Learned! (A friend sent me this post after I 'complained' about a specific group I belonged to!)

    ReplyDelete
  2. So true...I'm finally learning how to eliminate "negative noise" from my own life (an early New Year's Resolution).

    ReplyDelete
  3. This list is wonderful. Some groups can be like an episode of "Survivor", can't they? :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Having been in several groups, I can relate to this. On the other hand, when it's good, it's very very good.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This is a good list. For my own part, I belong to two very good groups who all write in a different style and are really good writers and critiquers. I feel very lucky to have connected with them, because I can see the improvement in my own work after revisions.

    ReplyDelete