Where (and How) to Find a Critique Group

Photo of Cheryl Reifsnyder

 

By Cheryl Reifsnyder

Last week, my lovely friend Laura wrote about how the Wild Folk critique group has provided her with encouragement, camaraderie, writing insight, and more during her path toward publication. Critique groups are fantastic, as almost anyone who has a critique group will tell you.

JOE MARINARO

 

 

But how do you find a critique group?
When I first started looking for a group, I was woefully unsuccessful. I hear the same complaint from writers across the country. Finding that great critique group can be a challenge—but it’s not impossible.

Step 1: Determine your critique group needs
Before you begin your search, decide what qualities you care about in a group. Do you want…

  • Face-to-face interaction, or would an online group better suit your needs?
  • A group focused on your genre, or are you open to a group with different types of writers?
  • An established group, or are you willing to recruit members for a new group?
  • Lots of structure, or do you prefer a more freestyle environment?
  • Lots of activity, or a group with a minimal critique load?

Step 2: Connect with other writers
Whether you’re looking for an existing group or plan to start your own, you need to hobnob with other writerly types. Not sure where to find other writers? Try…

  • Local events: Meet local writers!
  • National conferences: Connect with your new writer friends in an online venue.
  • SCBWI: Some chapters help members connect with critique groups through online resources or at conferences (see “Critique Connect” on p. 12).
  • Online or local classes: Learn something here or here or at your local community college—and get to know other writers (potential critique group recruits) along the way.
  • Online Resources such as news groups and listserves: Connect with other writers to find critique partners. Here are a few of my favorites:

Step 3: Enjoy!
Once you’ve connected with other writers, you’re on your way—if you find an existing group, great! But if you don’t, don’t be afraid to start your own: you’re not the only writer out there searching for a fantastic critique group connection!

More Critique Group Resources…

7 Comments

  1. I so need to do this. Here where I live in France I haven’t found any other anglophone writers so I need to go the online route, but I have held back as I would much prefer face-to-face, but I need to got over my reticence. Thanks for these practical steps, as part of my hesitation has been in not knowing where to start.

    Reply
  2. Cheryl,
    Thanks for laying this out so clearly. I’m off to tweet about this great post.

    Reply
  3. Hi Nadja, and thank you! Online was the first place I found a critique group :). I still keep in touch with the other members, although we don’t actually critique any more.

    Hi, Pam! You make an excellent point: not every group will be a good fit for you. I’d take it a step further–a group that starts out as a good fit might not be a good fit later. My first online critique group was a great fit for me when I joined, but over the next year it became less so, partly because its makeup changed, but also because I grew significantly as a writer. Eventually I moved on–which was difficult, but if I hadn’t I wouldn’t have gotten to know the great writers in my next online group, which stayed together for years.

    Reply
  4. What a great post, Cheryl! I wish I’d read it before I started looking for groups several years ago. One thing I would add is: Don’t be afraid to leave a group if you know it’s not a good fit for you. It’s often hard to tell before you join and start interacting with the members, and it’s a waste of your professional time to stick with a group that’s not meeting your needs.

    Reply
  5. Cheryl & Wild Writers…

    This post is just terrific. I’ve featured a link at my blog page in the hopes of getting this out to more readers. As an author looking for an online critique group, I found this post so very helpful. ~ Nadja

    Reply
  6. I’m so glad! I still remember the pain of not knowing anyone who wrote, thought about writing, or understood what I was trying to do. When I found my first critique group (online), it was life-changing.

    Reply
  7. This is very helpful, Cheryl! I have a friend who’s been feeling isolated, so I’ll pass the link along.

    Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. My Take on Critique Groups | Write me a book, John! - […] Photo Credit: The Wild Writers […]
  2. Where (and How) to Find a Critique Group « Cheryl Reif Writes - [...] Fun! » Where (and How) to Find a Critique Group This week, I’m blogging over at the Wild…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *