Why Do I Need a Critique Group?

Murder of a ManuscriptCarol here:


I’m very tickled to have Andrea Merrell be my guest poster. Andrea is a editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas and and I got to know her when she edited my first book. (Wow, that seems funny to say). This editor has helped many and now has her owm book. She’s got a lot of insight into helping us writers shine up our manuscripts. Her new book, Murder of a Manuscript, I highly recommend  for new writers trying to figure out the publishing world. Thanks, Andrea for stopping by and sharing your writing heart with us.



Critique—the word that causes fear in the hearts of otherwise brave souls—carries tremendous benefits for writers. When I meet with writers, especially those at the beginning of their journey, these are some of the most common excuses I hear for not connecting with a critique group:



I’m too busy.
I’m too shy.
I don’t know how to find one.
I don’t handle criticism well.



Let’s take a quick look at each point:



If you have the time to write, you must take time to get feedback from others. It’s the best way to know you’re on the right track. Writing involves a huge commitment of time.



If you desire to be published, or even share your writing with friends and family, you will need to overcome the shyness and pray for boldness. Writing involves marketing and speaking. Take hold of your passion and let it drive you.



Check with your local bookstore to see if they can recommend a group. If a local group is not available, find an online group. If all else fails, start a group yourself.



Don’t think of a critique as criticism. Think of it as a way to learn, grow, and perfect your craft. Sometimes, especially in a group of seasoned writers, you can learn more in a few brainstorming sessions than by years of classes.



Being part of a critique group will prepare you for writers’ conferences. Thank goodness I went to a local group before heading off to my first large conference. The leader patiently explained proper formatting along with many other important tips to improve my writing. Embarrassing? Absolutely, but I would have been more embarrassed if I had attended the conference without the benefit of someone’s guidance. My mistakes didn’t mean my words or effort had no merit. They simply meant I had a lot to learn.



As a writer, the best advice I ever received was, “Join a critique group, attend writers’ conferences, and network, network, network.” The information you receive from these three sources will help you hone your skills and write with excellence.



** For more writing and editing tips, check out Andrea’s new book, Murder of a Manuscript, (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas 2014) now available from Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/dp/1941103057/

Andrea Merrell Photo 10


Andrea Merrell is a freelance writer and editor living in the beautiful upstate of South Carolina. She is Associate Editor for Christian Devotions Ministries and Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. Andrea has led workshops at the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference (KCWC), Writers Advance Boot Camp, and The CLASS Christian Writers Conference in New Mexico. Her work has been published online and in numerous anthologies. Andrea’s next book, Praying for the Prodigal, will be released by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas in 2015. To learn more about her, visit her website: www.andreamerrell.com.



Readers, don’t forget we have our writing project going. It’s a year of letters. If you didn’t read my last post, I am challenging people to get back to paper and pen letter writing. Each month I suggest a type of letter to send out. Only one letter a month needed, and it could change someone’s day, year, or life.Let me know if you are joining the challenge.

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