Early on in my attempt to become a writer of something besides advertising copy, I heard a lot about the importance of joining a critique group. You know, where you sit around with a bunch of other writers and read what you’ve written and talk about it. Theoretically, others will point out problems with your work that you can’t see because you’re too close to it. They might even tell you how to fix it.
But opinions differ.
The person sitting across from you might have an altogether different idea than the person sitting next to you. Not only different, even contradictory. Someone else may offer yet another conflicting opinion and more contrary advice.
It’s all very confusing to me—too confusing.
What to do? Who do you believe? What advice do you take and what do you ignore? If you have any faith at all in you’ve written, I suspect you would disregard it all and go with your gut. And, at that point, what’s the point?
Besides, who’s to say these people know any more than you do?
I suppose you could trace my dislike for such things to my years in advertising, where you must listen to clients (and others) comment on your work, then try to incorporate their often absurd notions into your ideas and copy. Having lived with that for decades, maybe I just enjoy going my own way, not having to explain or answer to anybody. Except, of course, editors and publishers who are paying for their opinions.
Some people swear by critique groups. One friend, in particular, insists it makes him a much better writer. But as for me, I would rather spend my time writing than talking about writing.