Join a Critique Group? Yes or No? with Mimi Barbour

Join a Critique Group? Yes or No?

I’ve just joined a critique group! After six years of being in the business, I’ve decided why not. I’m a bit leery about the time squander though. Because if there’s one thing I’ve discovered, there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything on my to-do lists done. And those darn days go by way too fast.

But I’ve also learned that a writer can become too isolated, existing in a world of her/his own imagination, living in a little room with the computer as his/her only companion. Mind you, an author’s life today is quite different from what I can only imagine it would have been like years ago, and not that many either.

Having the responsibilities of promoting our work nowadays, we’re forced to interact over the Internet. These last years, I’ve been fortunate to meet wonderful people who have helped me tremendously. But that isn’t like being in a room with other living, breathing souls and sharing ideas, laughing and just being noticed.

Networking with other people who love the same pastime, that’s what I’m looking forward to.  Sharing ideas and helping each other. Giving and receiving confidence to try something new.

Of course it does help that the other three girls I’ve been invited to join are fantastic, funny, hard workers, task driven and with the same ambition of being multi-published as myself. It outta be a hoot…one I’m looking forward to immensely.

Are you in a critique group? Has it been a positive experience or do you feel as if you’re not getting anything out of it at all? That it’s a time drain?

Please leave your comments and your e-mail address so I can choose a winner for a free e-book copy of “She’s Me”. I’d love to add you to my newsletter list also. (Sent out only when I have news…I promise!).

I love to hear from readers anytime so please contact me:

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Blurb from SHE’S ME

A spoilt model, Jenna McBride, sits on a bench in 2007, pricks her finger on a rose bush and gets transported back to 1963 England to inhabit the body of chubby Lucy McGillicuddy. As her spiritual roommate, Jenna’s cynicism forces Lucy to adhere to a model’s lifestyle of sparse eating and physical exercise. Lucy’s body changes, becoming svelte and beautiful. Conversely, Lucy’s kind-hearted, generous spirit leaves a lasting impression on the temperamental fashion plate who exists inside her.

Lucy loves knowledgeable Dr. John, who has plans to help Jenna return to her own body. Jenna’s Business Manager Jake assists and mistakenly shifts into Dr John. Now the four spirits are vying over two bodies. Meanwhile, Jenna realizes an attraction for Jake, who’s very endearing, and she falls madly in love with him. While you giggle over their antics, these four characters will steal your heart.


Excerpt from SHE’S ME:

Jenna was heading to her special place, a wooden bench near the roadway where she could people-watch, one of her favourite pastimes. She liked to breathe in the scents from the pink roses that trailed over the trellis behind the bench and gave a fresh contrast to the natural greyness of the oak. Today the scene was framed by a sky bluer than normal. She meandered along toward the empty bench, Marnie close behind her. As she stopped to smell a particularly gorgeous rose, a thorn bit into the fleshy part of her finger, and she suddenly squealed with pain.

Strangeness settled over her as she sat to pull out the spine. As soon as her body touched the bench, a trancelike state began to take hold. Her mind felt numb, and later she would swear that her body floated away from her and disappeared in small drifts, like a cloud shifting.

Finally, she broke loose from these imaginings and turned to talk to Marnie, who was nowhere to be seen. She shook her head and reached up to rub her forehead, but when she touched herself she knew something was dreadfully wrong. It was as though she were having an out-of-body experience. Everything around her had altered. She closed her eyes and slumped further down on the bench. She twisted herself agitatedly, opened her eyes again and looked in every direction. It was then she realized that the road looked oddly different from the one she remembered.

She swivelled every which way, still seated because she felt weakened somehow, too weak to stand. And then she spied her dress and screamed. When she’d walked outside she’d been wearing white jean capris and a navy-and-white designer top, with a rhinestone-decorated white jean jacket to set off the ensemble.

Now, clutched in her shaking hands, her garb seemed to be a full-skirted, polka-dotted garment that hung down well past her knees and—what scared her silly—were the white gloves over her decidedly plump hands.


A word from the Author of The Vicarage Bench Series / Angels with Attitude Series

I’ve taken early retirement on Vancouver Island to spend my days and many nights hovering over my computer and spinning the stories that have been vying for attention over the years.

My husband is supportive and drags me out to feed me and plans occasional forays into the outside world. I have a son who makes me happy I was born a woman so I could be his mom, and a niece whose family adds to my full cup of happiness.

Gardening lights my inner fires, and I need no urging to get out into the yard when the weather dictates. I do have many hobbies such as quilting, crocheting, but alas – no time.


9 thoughts on “Join a Critique Group? Yes or No? with Mimi Barbour

  1. A Critique group sounds very interesting! I would probably like it!
    She’s Me sounds like a great read! I would enjoy reading it!

  2. My critique group has a dual function. It is my social life, and I can’t imagine writing a book without their input. While the book always remains mine, and I realize others may not have the same vision for that book as I, I consider every comment made by every member of my group, then make the decision as to whether I consider it a valid comment. About 99% of the time, my critique group is right!

  3. I belong to two crit groups that couldn’t be more different. They both give me fablous insite into not only my writing but marketing. And both are so supportive. I don’t know what I’d do without them.

  4. It’s been years since we disbanded, but I miss my critique group. 🙁 OTOH at this point in my writing career I doubt I’d have the time and energy to devote to being part of an active critique group. Occasionally I’ll critique a manuscript for an author friend and I judge in contests. It’s hard and time consuming. What I really need now is people to brainstorm with.

  5. I have to say that joining a critique group has helped my writing immensely. I can’t say that they’re right all the time, but if more than one person points out a problem, it’s normally a problem. Then we get the question of how to fix it. I also love helping other authors out with their work. It’s doing critiques that I think helps a writer more than anything. You start looking for other folks flaws and you end up seeing your own. I urge all my writer friends to join a critique group.

  6. Hi Cindy,
    What a timely post, for me at least. Though I know a critique group is a great resource, I’ve never joined one. Partly because of the time commitment and partly out of wariness of finding a good one. Any suggestions on where to start?


  7. Thank you all for the lovely comments. It’s lovely to see that overwhlmingly, you feel it’s a positive step to take.

    Mac, the one big point that made me decide to join this group is that when we’re together, we laugh a lot, and have so much fun. Also, every one of the ladies is an avid reader. So putting aside the fact that they’re writers, I’m hoping the knowledge gleemed over years of loving books will be a huge benefit. Today, we don’t have to stick to the strict guidelines of the major publishers anymore. If a story is good, and can entertain…whether it fits into a specific genre or not, why shouldn’t it get published?
    Good luck with your own search.

  8. Very timely. I just joined a critique group too. I agree, we writers can be too isolationist. So I think it’s important to be open to fresh eyes on our work. Good luck with yours. All best.

  9. My critique group has been a huge help. I was just getting interested in writing when I read about a group online and joined. I’m so glad I did. Not to mention the moral support– it’s so nice chatting with other writers.

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