Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Writing Groups Vs. Critique Groups

I was a member of a critique group for a couple of years, back, maybe, five years ago. While I liked being with people and networked with one writer I am still in contact with, I found it very time consuming. In addition to the two monthly meetings that usually ran a couple of hours each, there was usually an hour or two of reading and critique prep to do before each meeting. That doesn't sound like a lot of time, but when you consider that many writers don't work eight-hour days but whatever number of hours they can fit in, we were talking the equivalent of a nearly a work day a month. (Though the meetings were in the evening when I wouldn't have been working, anyway, some writers do work evenings, so an evening meeting would be taking from their work time.)

So I've been avoiding writers' groups since then, especially now that my writing time has actually decreased.

But last month The Spectacle did a post on writing groups--in which writers get together for a writing binge. These writers also network, but some of the time they're gathered these writers are actually writing.

Now I've heard of a few writers getting together for their own weekend writing retreats every once in a while, retreats where they write before doing anything else. If I actually had time to get away, I'd think that was a great idea. But a group of writers who get together maybe once a month for a morning or an afternoon to work for a couple of hours and then catch up on professional news seems workable. A writing group also seems far more time and energy efficient than one in which you talk and then have to do homework.

I know feedback is good, but in my experience, work is even better.

1 comment:

Becky Levine said...

Gail, I do some of this, as well as my critique group. I've done day-long "retreats" a few times--I think they work best if everyone is on board with a tight schedule and a commitment to working. I also have met at the coffeehouse with writers for our writing time on any given day--there's something about it being almost rude to unfocus and potentially distract your writing partner that can make things more productive all-around, I think.