This is a question I had asked myself for a very, very long time. How would a critique group help me? Would it be a waste of time? Would I leave irritated with the other members? Would it be satisfying - a good mixture of humiliation and "building up"?
I'm a very skeptical and analytical person and almost always prefer to do things on my own. I use the internet, read books, follow cool people on twitter who send out writing tips, and peruse other people's blogs rather than drive to a specific place (gas is expensive!) to get help. I naturally shy away from things that wouldn't be mutually beneficial, and I never saw a regularly-meeting critique group as accomplishing anything really worthwhile.
Well, now I can happily say I was wrong. :-)
I vaguely remember the first time I attended a critique group meeting. Actually, I haven't had the chance to forget it yet, since it was only two weeks ago. :-) And let me tell you, it was WORTH the time. We read samples of our writing, commented and critiqued, and it was very beneficial. (Course, I'm speaking for myself. :-) David West and Graham Bradley might disagree. :-))
T.J. Bronley, our group's putter-togetherer, sent us this article, wherein Chip MacGregor explains how to get the most out of a critique group. If only I'd read it during the year 2008, when I first started writing seriously...
I could go on and on about getting into a group, but would rather you read the article. :-) For those of you who aren't able to make the drive to specific locations, seriously consider using authonomy instead. It really is a great site.
Here are my questions for anyone who happens upon this post:
How long did your longest critique group last?
Have you found them to be beneficial?
How do you choose groups?
Which of the two types Chip MacGregor mentions is yours? (from the article above - under point 1.)
Why do you recommend a critique group?