Yes, yes, we all know the old mantra that writing is a lonely profession. But is reviewing and editing lonely, too? Does it have to be?
I’m pretty new to this, and I was slogging along on my own, but I recently joined a writing group in my city. I had seen an announcement for a writers’ group forming and decided to take a chance. As luck would have it, joining the group introduced me to a wonderfully talented group of women – all American and all living in my same neighbourhood of Rome. Some things are truly meant to be…
Writing groups are great for many reasons. One is the support you receive and provide. It means a lot to have people who understand and push you to meet your deadlines or provide the drive to just sit down and rewrite a scene. My work has benefitted so much from the sharp-eyed observations of my new writing buddies. I’m often too involved in the stories and don’t see the – seemingly obvious – flaws my fellow writers bring to my attention. This is priceless when I go back to edit.
And I love reading other’s stories. I hope I can offer my own impressions and suggestions that are helpful in their redrafting and I love seeing how others craft their stories and express their original ideas. No matter how stressful my day is, I look forward to these writing meetings and always leave feeling inspired.
In addition to the writing group, I’ve worked with on-line critique groups. The feedback varies from site to site, but I’ve been most pleased with Critique Circle. The vast majority of comments are incredibly helpful and I appreciate complete strangers taking the time to review my work and improve upon it and I enjoy doing the same. Sharp-eyed critiquers manage to point out many problems or uncertainties I have grown too blind to see in my own work, after countless re-readings. I’ve seen that my writing improves, too, by reading and critiquing the work of others. Plus, there are stories I just enjoy following as they’re being created.
I suppose there are writers out there who are extremely successful forging out on their own, but I’m not one of them. I’m happy to learn from the critiques and suggestions of my talented village of writers and readers. And I hope my comments and suggestions can help shape their works as well. I do admit that I write in isolation, but for me, at least, it takes a village to revise a book.