Last month, I wrote about organizing and conducting a writing critique group, providing critiques, and accepting critiques. You can find that post here. Today’s post includes tips for sustaining a critique group, and what to do when it’s time to move on. Again, I’m shouting out to all my amazing critique partners. I couldn’t do this without all of your support, guidance, and friendship!
SUSTAINING A CRITIQUE GROUP:
As with any other group, it’s important to assess the vitality of the membership. You can take the temperature of the group periodically with questions like: is this group still meeting everyone’s needs? What can we do to make the group more effective? Do we need to address our group rules surrounding membership size, participation, or other structural issues? Checking in with your critique pals allows everyone to share their thoughts about how the group is working and to tweak any changes that will make the group stronger.
MOVING ON FROM A CRITIQUE GROUP:
Occasionally, a group might no longer work for any number of reasons. How do you handle that? Sometimes a group just slowly dies out due to lack of interest or participation. Other times, group members might start working in different genres and might agree to look for new groups that better serve their future writing plans. Sometimes the fit just doesn’t work. A cordial discussion will go a long way. You can decide that the group will take a hiatus and come back to re-evaluate in a few months. Or you can decide to part ways. You may even create a new group from the old if some members want to move off in a different direction together.
Even if your group breaks up, stay connected to the members if possible so that when all your books are published, you can still support one another in friendship, and in marketing and promotion efforts.
Good luck with your critique group. Happy writing and critiquing!
Melissa Stoller is the author of the chapter book series The Enchanted Snow Globe Collection - Book One: Return to Coney Island and Book Two: The Liberty Bell Train Ride (Clear Fork Publishing, 2017 and 2019); and the picture books Scarlet’s Magic Paintbrush and Ready, Set, GOrilla! (Clear Fork, 2018). Upcoming releases include Return of the Magic Paintbrush and Sadie’s Shabbat Stories (Clear Fork, 2019). She is also the co-author of The Parent-Child Book Club: Connecting With Your Kids Through Reading (HorizonLine Publishing, 2009). Melissa is an Assistant and Blogger for the Children’s Book Academy, a Regional Ambassador for The Chapter Book Challenge, a Moderator for The Debut Picture Book Study Group, and a volunteer with the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators/MetroNY. Melissa has worked as a lawyer, legal writing instructor, freelance writer and editor, and early childhood educator. Additionally, she is a member of the Board of Trustees at The Hewitt School and at Temple Shaaray Tefila. Melissa lives in New York City with her husband, three daughters, and one puppy.