After a three month hiatus, I’ve returned to my critique group. While my prolonged illness was the reason for my absence, I honestly didn’t know if I was going to go back or not. However, while I was gone, I received so many nice notes from group members wishing for me good health and return, so I decided to make another go of it.
One of the things I love about my group is it is totally drop-in. All you have to do is show up and do the work (and not be a complete ass) and you’re in. This keeps things fresh, except, of course, when some complete ass shows up.
Last night was a great example of this. I got the opportunity to critique the work of a very talented rookie writer. It reminded me of how far I had come and gave me new motivation to dig into my work.
I also put myself on the critique schedule for the fifst time since October. It’s only fair. Critique is a humbling process. Unless you put your own work into the meat grinder, I think you loose perspective of what others are dealing with.
This is where I am coming to my point. AH-HA! See! See! there is one. Part of becoming a writer is putting out your work for other people to see–people who aren’t your friends and family, people who might not even like you. Some of it will be unfinished. Some of it will suck. Some of the advice you get will be hurtful and utterly unusable, but is going through that spanking machine any worse than sending your work to an agent or an editor. Is subjecting yourself to peer critique worse than putting your work out to the general public without the benefit of someone else’s eyes?
So be brave. Show your work.