Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Way We Are: Groups, Organizations, and Partners, Oh, My!

Writing may be a solitary thing, but I'm pretty sure that most of us don't keep it solitary. We get by with a little help from our friends. (And I want to know if you were able to read that line without the tune going through your head. Seriously.)

Some of the very best kind of friends to help your craft come from Writing Groups / Critique Groups, Writing Organizations, and Critique Partners.

I want to hear about yours! Are you part of a critique group? How long has your group been together? How about critique partners? Have you joined any writing organizations? If you have, now's your chance to pimp them. Tell us what you love about them! Tell us how they've helped you! Is it an organization you'd recommend others join? Is it worth the money?

My answer: 
I am in a critique group, and the five of us meet weekly. We've been together for a little over three years. I wouldn't ever think of writing a book that anyone was going to read without them. They help immensely!

I am also a member of SCBWI. I've heard they are a fantastic group, but I can't say that I've taken advantage of what they offer too much yet, though. If you write YA/MG/PB, they are definitely tops. And I've heard their conferences are AMAZING! They do one in Los Angeles, and one in New York every year. Someday.... SOMEDAY, I will go to the New York one. Hello! Publishing Capitol of the world! Largest children's writers organization putting it on! **Pauses to imagine the photo bombing that could go on there.** Anyone want to join me? How fun would that be?!

33 comments:

Iain said...

I belong to a writing group who are incrediby supportive, and this morning, I send my MS to a friend who is going to Crit my work. This is the first time I've sent my MS to anyone, and I'm pooping myself at the moment.

Nicole Mc said...

I adore my crit group. The way I found them was a miracle. About two years ago I started writing a particular ms and being a moron I decided to enter it (very prematurely) in a local RWA contest. My goal was to get some feedback, which I did, and it was fantastic. One of them wrote their full name on the score sheet, so I obviously googled her!! Crazy enough, she was a librarian at one of the schools in my small town so I emailed her. (My husband said I was crazy!) Anyway, she invited me to the most amazing crit group and I've been meeting with them ever since. I love every single one of them and have grown tremendously because of their talents and knowledge!

Annalisa Crawford said...

I don't belong to any critique groups. I wonder if I'm missing out, sometimes, but I also would find the sharing thing difficult. I only ask people to read my novels, not my shorter work, so I don't need them that often.

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

I have treasured critique pals and I am a member of the SCBWI. You're right--the conferences are usually amazing. I've been to the annual conference in LA as well as the one in NYC. The LA conference is my favorite.

Isis Rushdan said...

You are so fortunate to have 5 partners that you can meet with. I have two, one is not reliable, and it's all done by email.

Now that I am back stateside, I plan to join a local writing chapter and make some writing buddies.

Cherie Reich said...

I have a writers' group that meets every 1st and 3rd Thursday. I've been going to them since May 2010, but they're having their 30th anniversary this year (in May). I also have a few critique partners who have been with me from about the very beginning (2009).

I have heard that the SCBWI conferences are fantastic. One day I'll join and go to one. :)

i'm erin. said...

Yep, I definitely think we need to go to SCbwi one of these years...as in next year. That would be so amazing. And fun. And our pictures would be epic.

oh, and you're in my group.

Delia said...

I have a group that I meet with every week, but it's more a support group than a critique group. (I'm still looking for a good critique group.) I've also joined SCBWI and will be attending the Spring in New England Conference and I cannot wait. The workshops I've signed up for look amazing. I'd love to do New York some day.

Rachel Pudelek said...

After visiting a few "crazy" writing groups, my friend and I decided to start our own. It was by invitation only (met them at book signings etc.) because we wanted a "friends who write" type of group. We meet once a month at a coffee shop in a book store. The three of them have been so incredibly helpful.

I'm also a new member of RWA. I have yet to attend any classes, but they have a pretty good-sized conference up here in WA this fall. I'm very excited for that.

Kristine said...

I'm a member of the PEFC. I really like it. It makes me feel cooler on a daily basis.
What is PEFC? Peggy Eddleman Fan Club.
Full Disclosure: I was paid to say this.
Hahahaha! Just kidding. But really, I am a member. Lucky to be your sis!

Z said...

Oh Peggy! I would love to go photo-bombing with you in NYC! What a lark!

I love critique groups--they're incredible. I've...been shopping around for the last few years. The group I'm in right now is good, but we'll see if we continue together once this semester ends.

Shallee said...

I meet weekly with a FAB writing group. I've been with them for over 2 years, though they were together before I came and crashed the party. :) I don't know what I'd do without them!

Peggy Eddleman said...

Iain-- Get yourself cleaned up ;) it'll all be okay. It may or may not sting a bit for the first day. After that, though, you'll be addicted. Totally, helplessly addicted.

Nicole-- That is an awesome crit-group-finding story! I love it! Sometimes it really pays off to be crazy.

Annalisa-- I think you're totally missing out. Crit groups can be so much fun! Just get together with people who are fun and who find it just as difficult to share, and you'll be golden. :D

Cynthia-- You've been to both?! I'm so happy for you! And a just a teeny bit jealous for me. That's so cool! (Thanks for correcting me on the location of the summer one. I fixed it in the post.) Because you love the LA one so much, I just put BOTH conferences on my Do In The Next 2-3 Years list.

Isis-- I am very fortunate. Local writing chapters are a great way to meet writing buddies that are close! Then you can get to know them first to see if they'd make good crit partners. I wish you all the best!!

Cherie-- 30 YEARS?!! That's incredible! How many people are in the group? I'm curious as to what kind of process they have for opening it up to new members. Someday, I will go, too.

Erin-- Epic pictures. Yep. That's 100% the reason I want to go.

Delia-- Support groups are good, too. Best of luck finding a critique group! And that conference sounds like SO MUCH FUN! I'm so excited for you!!

Rachel-- Your story makes me laugh! Probably because I very much understand. I'm glad you have one you love now! I went to an RWA conference last October (even though I don't write romance). They put on some great conferences that are great for your craft-- regardless of what you write!

Kristine-- I love you. You made me giggle, which is totally what sisters are for. :)

Z-- Let's go!! Best of luck in finding a group and/or sticking with the one in Brandon's class. You know, that's how I found mine! I'm a big proponent of Brandon-formed critique groups. :)

Shallee-- That's the absolute best kind of group to have! The ones you couldn't live without. Yay!

Susanne Drazic said...

I joined an online group, but never did anything with it. It just didn't feel like the right fit for me. I should try finding a group I'd be comfortable with, because I'm sure I'm missing out on a lot.

Susanne
PUTTING WORDS DOWN ON PAPER

Connie B. Dowell said...

I'm glad you found such a great group. Good writer's groups are hard to come by. Many folks express a lot of interest and enthusiasm but don't back up their words with actions. It's hard to find people that are truly serious.

J. A. Bennett said...

I would be there in a Heart Beat if I could. Ah, New York *sigh*

Leigh Ann said...

My CPs are the bessssst. But I've already crowed about them enough over here, I believe. ;) We all "met" via blogs and blog contests. I couldn't write with out them - their critique or their pushing me every step of the way.

I was thinking about going to SCBWI NYC this year, but now I think I'll only go *if* I'm agented. So...probably I won't. :)

Jessie Humphries said...

Count me in for August.

Jeigh said...

I have CPs but we're scattered around the country, so we meet through email/texts/Twitter/Facebook/Skype.

I've thought about joining SCBWI, but my chapter meets 5 hours away. Not really convenient. Someone tell me, though, is it worth it if you can't make it to the meetings?

Also, I'm TOTALLY planning on going to a NY conference, too! If I find you, I'll photobomb you while you're photobombing, okay?

Angela Brown said...

I currently do not belong to a crrique group. Not because I don't want to, but I honestly need to try and find one locally, which I haven't done.

I am a member of the Writers League of Texas. It is headquartered in Austin, which is about an hour's drive from me. But they do regular activities that memebers can participate in. I've attended their Agents and Editors Writing conference a few times and really enjoyed myself.

Amanda Olivieri said...

I'm not part of any groups yet, but am thinking about joining SCBWI. As far as CPs, I don't have them either, but definitely think I am missing out there. I'm not sure how to go about getting CPs yet but I think I'll be more proactive about it eventually :)

Carrie Butler said...

I can't afford any professional organizations (yet), but I do have seven critters (critique partners) and two betas. :)

Imogen said...

I don't have any critique partners yet, though I have a writing partner. My cousin and I have been writing partners for two years now and it's been awesome. I'd love to be part of a crit group, but I have no idea where to start. Maybe I won't think about that yet. Too daunting.

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Jo said...

I am not... However, I visit a local bookstore every Thursday night for dinner and a writing date with myself. This place is frequented by a good number of different writing groups. Last week, I was sort of eavesdropping as I had dinner... I was amused to listen in one in which they were discussing the viability of superheroes in small towns and then contrast that to the group behind me... where they were discussing the in's and out's of mermaid sexual relations.

Kelly Polark said...

I'm in a local critique group, but 2 out of our 4 members moved away. Though tomorrow three of us are meeting (a rare occurence since the move!). I also have online critique buddies. So thankful for them!

Tonja said...

Conferences seem both fun and overwhelming. I meet with my CP once every two or three weeks. We met at a writing class.

Julianne Donaldson said...

I am jealous of your critique group! I have none. But I do have some great writing friends who are great for overcoming writer's block. brainstorming, etc. I also belong to RWA, and I love the Utah chapter meetings as well as the conferences and retreats. It's been amazingly supportive and beneficial.

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

Yes, I totally heard the song :)
I also belong to SCBWI and really love the bulletin and the conferences.
I also belong to a critique group, but we don't manage as well as yours. We try for once a month and often miss. But I love getting together with my group!

Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking said...

Sounds like your group is really awesome!I think it is good to have people that you can throw ideas out there and they help like that.

Tara Tyler said...

do any writers live in ohio?
i know they do, but where are they? how do i find them?
and wd is here, too! i did get to meet chuck sambuchino at a workshop, but i'd love to join a regular crit group!

Kitty said...

I'm so very jealous of all of you with crit groups! I am very excited, though, to have recently found a great crit partner. We've only exchanged one chapter and just the feedback she's provided me on that one chapter was wonderful. But I would love to have a group that I could meet with face-to-face on a regular basis.

Richard said...

I've been a part of a group through the local adult education program for about 10 years (although this is the first year I haven't joined since I started, because it switched to email only), and another group for about 2 years. Both groups have been worth their weight in gold.