Should You Join a Writer’s Critique Group

Every writer needs to have a support system in place during the writing process. They also benefit from having constructive criticism from others. This keeps them on track and makes sure their results will grab the interests of publishers and readers. But there are downsides to joining a critique group as well.

Pros of Writer’s Critique Group

There are many positives associated with joining writer groups. Depending on your writing niche or genre, you may want to get several trusted people to critique it to help you edit the content and make adjustments. But there are many other benefits, as seen below.

  • Sharing and exchanging your knowledge of writing. You learn from others and can share your knowledge to help others.
  • You build a sense of community and encourage friendships to grow. While writing is a sole endeavor, it can be lonely. Joining a writer’s group helps you build connections.
  • Group members can help you learn the business side of writing.
  • You can get free editing and proofreading of your work in a writer’s critique group. This helps you makes needed changes before moving onto the editing process.
  • You get valuable feedback from other writers on your own work. The feedback is constructive and authentic, so you know what is working and what needs to be deleted or changed. Critiquing other people’s writing helps you see where you might need to improve your own writing.
  • Critique groups give you the opportunity to connect with editors or agents or illustrators if you need them.
  • A critique group can provide the guidance and encouragement that makes the writing process more productive and more fun. Or you learn from more experienced members about promoting your books.
  • You can get help from other members with your story when writer’s block hits you.

Cons of Writer’s Critique Groups

There are many positives for joining a writer’s critique group but there are some downsides as well including:

  • They can consume a lot of your time when you could be writing instead. There are meetings to attend as well as time spent analyzing other people’s work.
  • There can be some difficult personality clashes. As with any group of passionate people, personalities tend to clash. Think about how you’ll react and if you can brush off the ones who don’t meld well with you. Do you want more drama in your life?
  • Most critique groups will have at least one person who is the self-appointed grammar police. They seem to focus solely on grammar and spelling. Be prepared for their input even when you’re discussing story development in your first draft.
  • There will be mini power struggles over who is in charge and who decides what you’ll do in your meetings.
  • The programs might be too strict, with specific exercises on specific nights and may not be helpful to you.
  • In the end the choice is yours to make after you weigh the pros and cons of joining a writer’s critique group.

Even with the negative aspects of joining a writing group, the pros are hard to ignore. Join a local group or create your own group if there isn’t a local one or join an online group. Just remember every writing group is different. There is likely to be one that fits most of your needs, either locally or online.

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