Writing is a solitary occupation. An author sits alone at a desk, with a computer and the words which flow from the brain, through the hands, and onto the screen. Hours upon hours upon hours with no human contact. It’s easy to wonder if the writing is any good, if anyone else will ever read it, or if it’s all a waste of time.
But writing doesn’t have to be a solitary journey. Thousands of other authors experience the same thing. And many (if not most) go on-line to look for support. They look for classes on writing techniques, books on self-editing, conferences they can attend. Something else many discover is a critique group. Although it will never replace classes, books, or conferences, a critique group offers the benefits found in these resources, but on a personal level that focuses specifically on the writing submitted by the group members.
Learning the fine art of writing might be the goal of a critique groups, but they also create connections and establish bonds between authors. When a writer joins a group, he discovers that he’s not alone, he’s not crazy, and that others suffer from the same malady–the compulsion to write. The members learn to trust each other, gain the thick skin necessary to put their work in front of professionals and deal with rejection, and they have others who will celebrate the little victories along the way, like finally working out a tens ending, reaching the end of a complete revision, and receiving a request for a partial manuscript.
Critique groups offer all this and much more, especially for the new author. So finding (or creating) a group to be involved in should be high on the priority list. Participation in a critique group will not only meet a writer’s need for social interaction, but together the members will also polish their novels more quickly, and speed each other in the journey toward publication.