With this entry, we welcome our new associate agent Michelle S. Lazurek. She will bring a fresh perspective, with an occasional contribution to this blog.
- Get feedback from readers. Proverbs 27:17 tells us, “as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” It is important to have other people, whether brand new or seasoned, give you honest feedback about your work. Regardless of what experience other members have in writing, they are all approaching your work as a reader. Therefore, they can offer feedback as one. You may think your meaning is clear, but if it isn’t coming across to a reader, it will leave your reader confused and you frustrated.
- Critique group members are for you, not against you. As with any small group, the more time you spend with group members, the quicker you go from mere acquaintance to trusted friend. When you seek honest feedback, they will be more willing to tell you their honest opinion simply because they not only care about your project, but about you. They want to see you succeed, because if you succeed, they succeed.
- You can’t assess your own work effectively. You are too close to your work to analyze whether it is good enough to put out to the world. You’ve spent countless hours, writing and revising your work. Your project is now like a newborn baby; it’s your job to care for it and nurture it until it’s sufficient for publication. It’s hard for you to catch every error and resolve every issue. I don’t just mean free of typos, but does it flow well? Does the content support the main ideas presented? If it’s fiction, are the characters developed well and help move the plot along? You need champions who will praise you when your work is great, and friends who are not unwilling to offer constructive criticism.
I have stretched and grown with every writers’ group in which I have been a participant. The lessons and skills I gained at those groups I wouldn’t trade for anything. If you are having trouble finding some members to create a group, grab a copy of the Writers’ Digest Writers’ Market Guide (or the Christian Writers’ Market Guide if your work is spiritual in nature.) The little money and time you invest in yourself and others through a group will pay dividends in the success in achieving your writing and publishing career.