Before addressing the Author Blog Challenge question today, first I have some good news - I got a request for a full! Yay! It's with a publishing group I admire a lot, too. No way do I think it'll come to anything as I don't think my work is up to par with the other things they publish, but just to have them ask for it is a big step in the right direction.
Have you ever participated in a critique group? If so, how did it work out for you? If not, why have you avoided them to this point?
Have I ever participated in a critique group? Have I ever. For a few years I met with a group of 4 total (including me) a couple times a month. One person turned in a story, or an essay, or a chapter and the rest of us critiqued it. I can honestly say I am incredibly grateful for this experience. Not only did it introduce me to three fantastic people, but it taught me how to be a good reader, how to critique, and taught me that dedicated people are essential to the writing process.
Maybe because of my creative writing classes in college, I've never had a hard time turning over my work. Maybe the fact that all of us in my critique group were new at it, it made it easier to hand over our babies. Either way, I feel fortunate for this. Because everything essential I've ever learned about writing has come from critiques.
I've participated in more than a handful of online critique sites - Scribophile, Critters, You Write On, Writer's Digest, Authonomy (not recommended), and some more I can't remember now. Through these sites, not only have I met some great people, but I've learned so much not only from receiving critiques but from giving them too. Being able to look at another's work in a critical light has done wonders for my own writing.
Needless to say, I'm a critique whore. I'll do just about anything for critiques, for people to read my work and offer suggestions or praise. I love it. Maybe I'm addicted. I'm okay with that. I have thick skin too. Sure, I've received critiques that weren't well thought out, or were mostly crap, but I can honestly say I've gotten very few that didn't have at least one helpful bit in them.
If anyone has questions about the online critique groups I mentioned, let me know. I'd be more than happy to share my experiences with any of them.