There’s something weighing heavy on my mind today, Bad Girlz. I sat down to write a post about the benefits of attending writers’ conferences since I just returned from RWA two days ago. But, really, there are benefits of going to conferences, and we know this. Go to one. The end. So, instead, bear with me as I ramble for a minute about something else, okay?
People talk a lot about the importance of critique partners, how to critique, and how to receive critique. But, what’s never mentioned is the other stuff that goes along with being a critique partner—the laughter, the squeals, the tears, and the steady friendship through all of it. The Bad Girlz began as a critique group. I don’t know if many of you knew that, but it’s true. Every writer has strengths and weaknesses and we banded together to help one another fill in those gaps of strength. But, just as in any critique group, at times there are questions we don’t know how to answer. Which book should I write next? Should I change subgenres? And it’s those I don’t know where to go from here questions that are weighing on me now. I don’t know how to answer. I don’t know how to help. So, today, my mind is hovering over the part of critiquing I mentioned earlier—the steady friendship.
I may not have the answers, but what I do have is a glass of wine for you and a listening ear. Sometimes this critique partner duty comes in the form of a texted question of what should I do? Sometimes it’s a phone call relaying the exciting thing that happened. But, there is always the need to talk things out. I’ve noticed in critique groups that this situation occurs more often than reading a manuscript for feedback. It’s a skill more vital in a writer relationship than an eye for grammar—the ability to listen. And yet, no one ever talks about it. The dilemmas we face often involve career changing questions. We put our trust in critique partners and if we are able, our agents and editors. The answers to these big questions can usually be found within our own hearts, but it takes a friend to help us find those answers.
I’m not sure if I have a point on this topic…I did warn you I was about to ramble. But, if I did have a point it would be to look in your heart for the answer to the questions you have, never hesitate to call a friend when you need to talk, listen to those around you who are struggling, and be thankful for those who care about you.
Do you have a critique partner? If you do, hug her, and say thank you. Let’s chat about it.
~ E. Michels