Being a writer can be lonely. There are days when you sit for hours in front of a blank computer screen willing the words to come. Then there are days when your fingers can't move fast enough to keep up with the speed of the thoughts flying about your head. You get up, take a break for a few minutes, and then are back at it.
Regardless of which type of day you have, you are still mostly alone pouring your heart out onto the page and hoping desperately that someone will like it. Actually, you don't want them to just like it, you want them to LOVE it! Love it enough to buy it. Right now!
But how do you know if it's good enough?
You turn to your intrepid critique group.
You have one, right? Everyone should have a critique group. They are your best friends. The ones who will read ANYTHING you send them. The ones who will tell you the TRUTH about your manuscript. The ones who will cheer with you when you finally sell it! And the ones who will give you hugs when you receive those many rejection letters.
It used to be difficult to find people in your area that are interested in writing. But no more. With the internet anything is possible.
Not sure where to start?
Take a look at your state SCBWI.org website. Many of them have a place on their site that hooks people up with critiquers in their area.
Do a search on Facebook for writing groups. There are TONS of them. Find one that matches what you write and ask to join. Writers are the most friendly of people and are always willing to help one another. (Which makes for a fun village, don't you know)
Here are a couple of Facebook groups to try out:
You ask to join these groups and then write a post about how you are looking for someone to be your critique partner. People are bound to respond and either offer to join your group or point you in the right direction of a different group.
Finding a critique group is just a part of the great information that you can find online. I might also mention that these groups also offer TONS of information about the writing industry and are great places to just hang out and "lurk". Here you will find out about agents, editors, how to do submissions, contests that are going on, classes you can take to improve your craft, and just general information on most everything about writing and publishing kidlit.
Once you're in a group. Be a good critique-mate.
Be prompt with your comments.
Be kind, but truthful with your comments.
Be supportive and keep up the lines of communication.
Be willing to take a look at something you aren't familiar with to help our your writing partners.
The people in your critique group can grow to be some of your best friends. Mine are.
Well good luck! Find a critique group and become a part of the "writing village". It's a FUN place to be!!
Jennifer Swanson is the author of over 20 books for children. She has been a critique group leader for over 5 years and has loved every minute of it.
Her critique group-mates are some of her very best friends. They have helped her figure out many plot-twists, understand many characters inner emotions, and even helped come up with blog post topics a time or two.
To learn more about Jennifer, visit her website at
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