Does your group speak truth?

Reading the post at Jane Friedman’s by guest writer Jennie Nash on 

The 4 Hidden Dangers of Writing Groups

The first fix Ms. Nash wrote, that stood out in this article for me was:
  • Give each writer time to talk about the weaknesses they see in their work and the solutions they are contemplating. Let them try to sort those things out in a supportive space. Often, simply having to articulate your problem goes a long way towards solving it. I find that writers frequently know what’s wrong with their own work if you give them the time and space to confront those truths, and this is far better than asking people who are not trained to weigh in on what’s wrong with the work. Click here to read the entire article by Jennie Nash The 4 Hidden Dangers of Writing Groups.
This is how my critique partner and I work. We bounce idea’s, and portions of our writing, off each other to work out issues. Ms. Nash is correct about the importance of complete honesty. My friend listens as I talk through whatever writing problem I’m dealing with in the moment and doesn’t hesitate to tell me when I need to change something.

Just remember everything is easier to swallow with a spoon full of sugar. Kindness pared with a truthful suggestion or critique is helpful and constructive.

Y’all know how much I love your comments, so tell me are you a member of a writer’s group?
I’m also nuts for clicks, so please pass this on to your Facebook and Twitter pals remember to tell me what you think.
If you’re not already, please follow me @jeancogdell on Twitter or jean.cogdell on Facebook!
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5 thoughts on “Does your group speak truth?

  1. I found Nash’s column very thoughtful. Thanks for linking to it! I’ve been a member of a writing group for years, and i couldn’t function without it. But some of the points Nash makes are worth considering. I’ve posted about my group on my blog http://www.justcanthelpwriting.wordpress.com a couple of times to express my appreciation for their existence. Points that resonated: 1) if you really want the truth, you have to ask for it. You may have to dig for it. Maybe only one or two people will provide it. Treasure them. 2) Accept truthful comments! Too often people come to the group to argue with us about our comments. When I encounter this, I sometimes say my say, then shut down. But most of the time, the rest of the group backs up sincere “good notes.” Here’s where I would differ: Maybe struggling writers can’t fix your work, but they are READERS. They sure can tell you what they heard–what they thought you were saying, what confused them. One member of our group constantly disparages her own comments. But they are among the most useful, because she’s the reader out there who will be judging my work. Maybe she’s not a member of my ideal audience, but if she gets lost in the middle of page 2, how many others will get lost there as well? I’d like to cut that number down as far as I can.
    Thanks for the chance to chime in!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m not part of a writing group, although I have wondered about pairing up with a trusted friend to use as a sounding board and partner in crime to get writing. What do you find is an important quality for two, or more, people to be able to come together and be productive? Should you be working on the same type of format (novel vs collection of short stories), have any particular skills other than creativity, etc?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve been a member of groups but find I’m more productive with a trusted critique partner. She and I bounce ideas, stories off each other in addition to grammar critiques. Plus we let each other know when something is “not quite right.” We do this all via phone and computer as we are 1000 miles apart. We haven’t collaborated on a piece together, maybe because our writing style is so different. I think a collaboration is a different skill set. So no I don’t think your partner in crime need work on the same genre or type of stories to be effective.

      Liked by 1 person

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