I agree with all of Jacqui’s pros. The cons–we all face. Some thoughts: a) You do have to step out of your comfort zone. But an agent or editor is going to drag you out. Might as well get used to it with kind souls; b) You have to be clear to your group what you want. Follow up with specific questions if you don’t get the info you need; c) If you give negative criticism a couple of days to age, your brain will start processing it, figuring out what to do with it. And often what you come up with is good; d) When only one reader has an issue, say, “Thanks, I’ll look at that.” Then file it, let it age. Who knows. Maybe that was the best reader in the group, or maybe not.
A great, true-to-life assessment in Jacqui’s post!
I tend to be a solitary person. I have no problem spending the day with myself–me and my computer (and a good book), exploring the world from the safety of my home-based office. I live through my characters, test my boundaries through them. I prevail over great adversaries and unbeatable bad guys. I out-think both friend and foe as I write, rewrite, and refine my story until it comes out exactly as I’d like it to. Nowhere in my real world can I be as popular, smart, strong, and energetic as I can be in my fictional life.
There is one compelling reason, though, I venture into the physical world: Monday evenings, twice a month, for my critique group. I joined this wonderful group of fellow writers so I could bond with kindred souls, be around others who could talk non-stop and forever (literally) about authors, books, POVs and story…
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