Hello readers, my name is Adair Heitmann, and I’ll be posting today’s blog entry. Have you ever wanted constructive feedback on your writing but were afraid to ask? Are you worried that an evaluation of your work will stifle your creativity? If so, you are not alone. I’ve been writing since I was five years old. Sitting at my little, wooden, hand-me-down desk in the room I shared with my older sister, I filled a stenographer’s notebook with swirls and loops, pretending I was a writer. I wrote in private, fearful that my joy, if discovered might be teased out of me. As I got older and hopefully wiser, I had my share of criticisms, both personal and professional. My skin thickened. What I’ve learned from being a member of a writing group is how supportive they are. As a leader of groups, I witness the courageous dedication that writers have to be read and understood.
To help you on your search for a writing group, I’ve put together a “things to look for” list: 1.) Choose a location and time that suits your schedule. One of the best things about a critique group is that they meet regularly, you are continually accountable to write. 2.) Talk with the leader, get a sense of the other writers, their levels of experience. 3.) Some groups are genre driven and some aren’t, decide which you want. I happen to benefit from a diverse group. My fiction, non-fiction and poetry improves exponentially by comments from YA, historical fiction, motivational non-fiction, essay and blog writers. Their feedback helps me clarify my intention and my words. 4.) Commit to yourself as a writer. Try a group on for size, if it fits, celebrate your accomplishment. If it doesn’t, thank the other writers for their time and consideration, then keep looking. Stretching your wings in public strengthens you as a writer. Keep on building up those muscles.