Writing Wednesday: Critique Partners

Happy Wednesday, fellow readers! Erica here. I don’t know about you, but this week has been super busy for me. Yesterday I focused on finding some job opportunities that might get me started in my dream career, something that brings me closer to full time writing and publishing work. For this Writing Wednesday, I wanted to focus on the unsung heroes of the publication journey: critique partners. 

Critique partners are often the unsung heroes of the publication journey. It’s difficult for me to give you any advice on how to find these everyday superheroes because I found my critique buddies in a unique way. My two critique partners and I all entered a writing contest sponsored by a publisher and subsequently joined a Facebook group for writers seeking publication with this particular publisher. Within the group, everyone who wanted to find critique partners added their name and writing genre to a list to be matched. Dana, Christina and I were matched because we all wrote inspirational romance, although at the time I wrote contemporary, Christina wrote historical, and Dana wrote suspense.

Starting in December of 2013, we exchanged chapters on a weekly or bi-weekly basis until we shared our full manuscript. There are several benefits to having a good critique partner:

  •  Accountability. I knew I had to work on my writing every week to prepare for  chapter swaps. To this day, I know I can count on them to hold me to my deadlines and goals.
  • Work Ethic. Knowing I had to send my chapter each week pushed me to polish my work carefully. I went over my work several times for consistency, continuity, and voice in addition to copyediting and proofreading. I learned how to revise and self-edit effectively through my relationship with my critique partners.
  • Feedback. My critique partners provided me with invaluable feedback. Not even a beta reader could have done a better job. Because we were targeting the same publisher, we could read each other’s work with their guidelines and wish list in mind. As fellow writers and readers, we could read for enjoyment and the story as well as read as writers.
  • Support. It has been a great support to me to have people in my life who understand the joys and struggles of the writing life. They are there to celebrate contest wins or manuscript requests and commiserate when rejections come in. They make themselves available for writing sprints. They listen to me talking through my current struggles with a story. Having someone in your life who “gets it” and is interested in the ins and outs of your story makes the load a little bit easier.

Many people know the benefits of having a critique partner, but how do you find one? How can you find a trustworthy person to share your work with? We’ll discuss this next week.

Do you have a critique partner? If so, how did you find them? If not, would you like to find one?

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