I had to miss critique group last night and I hated doing so. Personally, I live for "group." Mine meets once every two weeks, and sometimes that's not enough. Sometimes it's all that keeps me writing. Because that's always been our rule -you don't come if you don't have something to share. And while we break that rule sometimes now that our group has been the same five people for a few years, mostly we honor it. We know it makes us stronger.
When you are writing novels while also keeping your day job, it helps to have a strong force besides your own too easily strayed inner compass to keep you honest. Sometimes it's only the looming presence of Tuesday night that gets my butt in the chair. I'll make a million excuses - probably half of them truly legit - but the reality is, I won't finish a book unless I, well, finish it.
We're a diverse group, the five of us. Formed under the umbrella of SCBWI, although some of us also write for adults, too. Four women and one guy. We cheer each other on and commiserate with the rejection that comes with the territory. And we try to be as honest as we can. For us that means we generally don't read our own work aloud. We let someone else take a cold read instead. Works for me. I'm often too close to my work. I know exactly what it says, how it sounds. Only it doesn't always sound that way. So these four people I trust let me know when I've missed the mark.
Another time I'll brag on each of them. Want to get their permission first. They've become my writing family, and you take care of family. They're the people who sneaked wine and cheese into the library conference room for my birthday last year, see.
Anyway, if you write and don't have a group, find one. Ours celebrates big sales with the red boa. It was mine originally - I had to wear it on the Senior Football Player's Mom's Homecoming float one year. And when soon after Kim sold one of her romance novels, it seemed a good second life for the boa.
Til next time...