All Write Now allows us the freedom to explore, to travel in our imaginations, to let go of the critic and to find the inner voice of creativity. Although there may be the occasional suggestion to switch the first line with the last or to play with changing tense, we do not critique each others work. Our triumph is in the writing, diving down into the well and putting words down on paper. Our writing inspires our own lives, creating a place to enter the present moment.
So imagine my curiosity, when I was invited to take part in the “Critique” at the weekly meeting of the First Coast Christian Writers last week. Someone in the group had seen my flyers at Shakti Life Kitchen and invited me to present and I accepted. After the short presentation and question and answer session the critiques began.
I was particularly impressed with the process they used to critique each others’ work. They learned this technique from Word Weavers in Orlando, FL. One hour was allotted and those writers who wanted a critique brought copies of their writing. Each writer received 20 minutes of attention. On this night, there were four writers who wanted a critique, so the group divided into two smaller circles. The writer passed out the writing and the person to her/his right read it aloud. Everyone listened and pretty much played “Sister Mary Frances” marking all over the paper:) Really each person marked places where they thought changes could be made or where they were confused with the meaning the writer was trying to convey. After the reading the person to the left shared her/his suggestions and each person took a turn to share EXCEPT the writer. The writer does not speak or answer questions she/he merely listens. On the top of the writing each person puts her/his name and email so the writer can email with any questions later.
It seemed really helpful for crafting a piece of writing. I would recommend that you attend a meeting and I will explore more information about techniques for critiquing writing. In the meeting I attended, each person was assigned a task or role to help the meeting stay timely and effective. Since we already have All Write Now in common, we could structure something similar with each person having a role to play. There would be no charge involved. Together we would support each person who would like to polish some pieces and look toward publication. Each one of you has something that would be inspiring to others.
Let me know your thoughts.