It’s likely has been said that creative writing critique partners are worth their weight in gold. And I wholeheartedly agree… but only if you find the right partner. In writing as it is in love, if you’re not compatible with your partner, you’re both wasting your time. That’s why it’s so important to find that “golden” peer reviewer.
I was editing the creative work of one of my own critique partners and got to thinking: How do you find “Mr./Ms. Right” when it comes to writing exchange?
First things first, though. You have to look where writers hang out. Here are just a few of the great places to locate other writers:
- Absolute Write Water Cooler
- National Novel Writing Month forum boards
- Ladies Who Critique
- National Writing Organizations: some of which include Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Romance Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, and more (please note these require a membership fee, but are usually worth it)
And of course, once you find other writers, then begins the courting process. Speed dating for writers, anyone? Finding another writer with a similar genre, similar reading tastes, and similar writing goals is crucial. Once you have that down, it’s important to test the waters. Speak to your new writer friend one-on-one about exchanging. How many pages? How often? What do you want him/her to focus on when critiquing? Plus, it’s a good idea to do a trial exchange before you get too deep into the writerly relationship.
Remember, the feedback is only as good as what you’ve paid for. In other words, keep in mind that another writer will give you suggestions, not requirements. It’s ultimately up to you whether or not to agree with what feedback he/she offers.
And be nice to your fellow writer. We’re all on this epic journey of writing, but it’s a long, hard road to traverse. We need others along the road to boost us up, not tear us apart with overly critical reviews.
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