Presenting to a writing workshop or class always made me feel like I was about to ride a rollercoaster. Though I like rollercoasters, my heart and stomach do a sickening tango due to exhilaration and fear. Writing workshops are well worth the nausea, however, and you should be in one to take full advantage. Just as a rollercoaster, you might discover you like the ride!
In high school, my teachers and peers praised my writing and I even earned some county awards. I was proud and thought that it was a good start to my writing journey. But when I got to my senior level writing courses in college, my writing took on a whole new life.
Most of my creative writing courses were in the form of a ‘roundtable.’ We’d discuss the basics of writing, dive into a particular style or subject, and come back the next week with a polished piece ready to be critiqued.
Critiquing is an intimidating word and so is the experience. We mustn’t forget though, with critiquing comes value. Up until then, people just kept telling me that my writing was great, which was awesome, but I didn’t know how to get better. Until these classes, that is.
Each member would take a turn in reading their piece and the rest would mark corrections and insights on each paper. At the end, we would discuss a variety of changes or enhancements to the writing.
Some of my favorite tips include:
- Be careful of too many “I” statements when writing in 1st person
- Break up large paragraphs for an easier read
- Cut as many adverbs as possible
- You don’t need to wrap up an ending like a perfect gift to your reader
With such help from my teachers and peers, I watched as my writing transformed from class to class. I became more action-focused and recognized my weaknesses, which I stay more aware of in my current writing. Not only did I find that my writing had changed, but I also found that critiquing someone else’s writing helped me apply those critiques to my own.
Workshopping provided avenues to new and different styles and gave me the tools to go over my own writing with a fine-tooth comb. My professor gave the best piece of advice for someone who wanted to pursue writing. Her advice was to find a writing group. It took me awhile to realize just how right she was.
Now, I’m learning to rediscover the love I had for the groups, because of their ability to facilitate loving and supportive growth.
If you’re looking to give your writing a jumpstart, Write2Ignite’s master class with Joyce Moyer is a great place to start! Click here to learn more!
The format may be different this year, but Write2Ignite has been a great help to me. Check out my post here where I share about my first experience at Write2Ignite in 2017.
Have you been part of a critique group? What are some of your favorite tips from critiquing?
Leah Jordan Meahl writes to encourage both the rooted and the wandering Christian to go deeper. She’s a born and bred Jesus-follower hailing from Greenville, South Carolina. She’s a lover of devotional writing as well as fiction. Her newest book Pebbles: 31 days of faith enriching parables is set to release August 2020. Feel free to visit her blog here, and ‘like’ her on Facebook.