Thursday, December 07, 2006

Critique Buddies

I spent a great morning and afternoon with my critique buddies. We met as usual at 10:00 in the morning for our critique session and afterward gathered at a local restaurant for our annual Christmas luncheon. What fun! Although we get together nearly every week, we never run out of things to talk about.

During lunch, I looked around the table and was suddenly aware of what great friends they'd become. We didn't start out that way. In the beginning most of us didn't know one another. And yet, for many years, we've hung together through the thick and thin of writing (and there have been a lot of thins). Plus, when we share our writing we unveil our hearts. And now we "know" one another well and we trust each other--not just with our writing but with our lives.

As I look back I don't think I could have made it in the world of writing without these ladies, and I can't imagine continuing on alone. Not only would my writing falter but so would my spirit.

If I send in a book that hasn't been completely critiqued by my group I know it's not as good as it could be. Our compilation of abilities and viewpoints make for better stories.

Each of the women are good, dedicated writers, and each have special distinguishing skills that set them apart. Diane, is a no nonsense kind of writer who can take real life and make it dramatic, she helps us stay real. Ann is like a poet with words and she does her best to make sure we find music in language. Billy is the practical one. I can count on her to find my too wordy passages and to help me tighten thoughts gone wild. And then there's Meddie. She's our photographer/writer who helps us see when our writing's lost its brilliance. Plus we can always count on her to find the misplaced comma or two.

I thank God for these women. Without complaint they have repeatedly made time to help me meet a deadline. I trust what they have to say and I always listen, even if I sometimes decide to go my own way.

I remember a time when the idea of being part of a critique group felt terrifying. I'm so glad I didn't let my fear keep me from one of the best parts of my life. Don't you let it stop you, either. If you don't have a group, find one. They'll not only make your writing better, but good friends always make life better.

Blessings to you,