How to Find a Writing Critique Group
Not sure where to start your search for a writing critique group? This can be a scary thing for a writer who’s just starting out. The good news is, there are writing critique groups out there if you know where to look and what kind of group you want to join.
Decide if you want to join an online group, if you want to meet with a local group in person, or both. Don’t be afraid to test drive a few groups until you find a perfect fit. One person’s hell is another person’s heaven, so the last thing you want is a writing group that isn’t a good fit for you.
Check to see if there is a writers’ league in your state and if they have groups meeting in your area. In my state there is a writers’ league with two groups that meet about twenty minutes from my home. I can also join an online group if I can’t or don’t want to meet in person.
Genre National Associations
If you’re looking for a group where everyone writes the same genre as you do, consider checking for local chapters of the national association for your genre, such as Romance Writers of America, Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, and Horror Writers Association. Keep in mind that most genre specific associations require a yearly membership fee. There may be a local chapter fee too, but these groups are a good way to meet other writers in you genre.
Try connecting with other writers in your area online with sites like Meetup or with smart phone apps like Circle. These are great places to find established groups or people who want to start a group online or in your area. Don’t be afraid to ask. You just might be surprised with the response.
Online critique forums such as Critique Circle and Scribophile are groups where you earn critique credits or points by providing critiques to other authors. Plus you can sign up for a free membership and try it out. You can either keep the free membership or pay for the premium membership for more options.
Check with you local library, community center, or college writing center for writing groups. If your library or community center sends out a newsletter to patrons, ask if you can run an ad announcing your wish to connect with other writers who want to join a critique group.
Local and National Writing Conferences
Local and national writing conferences are a great way to meet and make connections with authors. If you find several writers from your area or writers in your genre, ask about their critique groups. You just might find a group taking new members or several authors interested in creating a one.
If you expect your critique partners to be glorified cheerleaders or think you can get away with a simple “good job” when writing a critique for someone else, think again. When you join a critique group the other members expect you to critique their work too. This means real constructive criticism designed to help the other authors improve their work. You are also expected to take that same constructive criticism in the spirit if was offered—to help you improve—and not get defensive over every suggestion. It’s that fresh unbiased perspective of your work and the suggestions from the other authors that make critique groups a valuable asset for any author.
Now it’s your turn to share. How did you find your critique group? Was it love at first sight or did you have to try a few groups before you found the right one or are you still struggling to find one?