I’ve recently started going to a fortnightly Critique Group which meets a short walk from my office and a short bus ride from my house. It’s a very friendly group of regulars, now including two of my close friends, who give honest and supportive critique and advice.
Having attended a couple times before I brought anything to read, I knew there would be no gratuitous tearing into my work. Still I was shaking when I brought my first piece of flash fiction to read. Some of the people is that group are very talented, and I didn’t want to make a fool of myself.
I got very positive feedback on the flash fiction, so I brought in the first bit of the prologue for my work in progress. This got mostly positive feedback too, as well as some useful nitpicking. I was happy that there was nitpicking because the group operates on the basis that they only nitpick if they don’t think there is anything majorly wrong with the story.
The feedback I received gave me drive and confidence, so much so that the week-end that followed I did some of the most pleasant, least anxiety-ridden writing I’d done in a while. I carried on with the unfinished prologue I’d shared at the writing group, and got it done while I was on holiday with my family in France. I also had no internet and gorgeous weather, of course, but I know the positive feedback was a great part of how successful that week-end was.
Now, I’m trying to channel the drive and energy I had during that week-end into pushing forward with the novel so I have something decent to read next time.