The 11 Rules for a Writers Read and Critique Group!
Looking to start your own writers read and critique group?
Participating in a regular writing group can help to hold you accountable to deadlines and push you to try out new skills. It can also help to alleviate the inevitable loneliness and “stuck-ness” we often feel as individual writers. And, with just a few clear rules you can create a group that will challenge you, support you and take your writing to the next level. Being part of a good writing group (in my humble writing-coach opinion) is the best thing you can do for yourself as a burgeoning writer.
But how to begin? Well, you will need some basic start up rules to set the tone of the group and to keep it running smoothly.
The following 11 rules will serve as a basis to create the healthiest, most productive atmosphere possible.
11 Rules for a Happy and Healthy Writers Read and Critique Group:
- Respect privacy and confidentiality. What is said in group stays in group.
- Arrive on time.
- Decide when writers will be reading (weekly, every other week, every three weeks etc…)
- Decide on how many pages the writer will bring in when they are reading and what the spacing guidelines will be. Be specific (Example: 8 pages double spaced)
- Do your best to state what kind of feedback you are seeking before you read. (Are you seeking overall direction, a specific critique, are you sensitive about a certain topic/issue – let the group know)
- Use the “Oreo Cookie” Method. State one positive aspect you noticed about the writing, then a critique, then finish with a positive. (Pay attention to your fellow writer’s strengths.)
- No messing around on your phone/tablet while another writer is reading.
- Don’t defend your work. Do your best just to listen.
- Critique the work, not the writer.
- No need to be concerned with grammar/punctuation – focus on content first (unless the writer specifically would like this type of feedback).
- Remember that you are there first and foremost to foster success and support your fellow writers along their path (check egos at the door!)