Good morning! And goodbye to warm weather! It’s cold in my corner of Texas. We’ve had a crazy weather year, but I think winter has finally arrived. It’s good writing weather, and yet, I’m at a bit of a standoff with my novel. This may just be a good case of new writer syndrome, but sometimes I reach a point in the story where I’m lost, really lost. For me, writing can be a puzzle. I have all these pieces– and they fit– somewhere.
So, I joined a critique group.
As I mentioned previously, I joined ACFW and went to my first writer’s conference. This group has a lot to offer new, as well as experienced writers, so if you haven’t checked it out yet, you should! I recently joined the ACFW Critiques group. I’m not schooled in all things writerly, but, I’m ready to learn. I sent in the first five or six pages of my first chapter for critique, and felt like I sent my baby off to war! A few critiques have come in, and they’re kind, but also educational. I’m learning that I still have a lot to learn.
To improve my writing, I also read books on craft. I do the little writing exercises in the books on craft. I read blogs on the craft of writing. I practice, practice, practice. I’ve discovered a downside to all this learning about craft. I can’t read. Can’t. Read. I pick up a novel and find myself learning from the writing instead of paying attention to the story. Have you ever “studied” your favorite writers?! I just want to relax and read the book! Hopefully, this is a phase that will pass. Hopefully.
I’m not really a group kind of person. I’m shy. I’m the girl in the corner people watching. I love to people watch. The best thing about people watching is later, you know, when you remember the little details– the way someone pushes the hair out of their eyes or the way someone looked in a particular style of dress– that’s the best stuff. At times, I’ve wondered if I’m strange for standing around, noticing the little things, but I read the other day that writer’s think this way. What a relief!
So, it’s back to the books, the writing, and the critiques for me. If you’re struggling with your story, consider joining a group. It’s tough to put yourself out there, I know, but take the chance. Good things come from hard things.