Writers Helping Writers

I went to the home of a writer tonight. She told us that before she submits an article she goes over it 25 times. She may go over punctuation first, check formatting second, and then read for clarity third, etc. She focuses on one thing at a time.

I wrote about a cleaning product in the article for tonight and I had the bottle say something. We laughed as we pictured an inanimate item give directions.

The hostess is gracious yet she keeps us on course. If one of us brings a long piece and it takes almost 15 minutes to read it, then she asks the group if they have the time to extend that person’s critiquing turn. We are allotted 15 minutes each.

(photo from http://images.search.yahoo.com/images/view)

If we’re not in agreement, then we’d probably make quick notes on the copy and not have any chance for discussion. I imagine she’d have us move on to the next person’s writing.

It’s amazing how much gets done in one and a half hours. We spoke about blogging, marketing, editor’s expectations, The Chicago Manual of Style, speaking opportunities and writers’ conferences.

It’s a Christian group so we pray before starting. Once we begin, we say what we like and what we think needs changing.

At the end, the leader set up another meeting and said, “I’m so glad we can laugh at our mistakes.”

Earlier she told us as we laughed that she wasn’t laughing at me, but at the situation, which I knew. It didn’t hurt to hear that, though. Clarity is important. She, too, wrote a sentence that included a wrong word order that ended up clouding the meaning of the sentence.

That’s why it’s so important to let writing set a few days so the author can look at it with fresh eyes. Unfortunately, I don’t have that luxury with this blog.

As a writer I hope to pen words that glorify God, encourage people, entertain or teach depending on the genre I’m working on at the moment.

I remember knocking on the door at my friend’s house. When she answered, music drifted out and the lyrics lifted my spirits. When I mentioned this to another mom, she said, “My teenagers tell me the words to their songs don’t affect them, I guess you just proved them wrong.”

I look forward to returning to the author’s home for our next critiquing session, although I have to admit I was a little nervous.

I wasn’t sure what they would think of my article. I’m glad they liked it. I hope to get it published.

I put Scriptures in it, such as Philippians 4:13 which says, “I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.”

Yet, I hope it reaches a wide market.

May God bless you.


5 responses

  1. You are such an inspiration and an asset to our meetings. Thank you for this sweet blog. Warning: I’ve been nicknamed “Sarge.” Keep writing. Keep inspiring, my friend.

    • Thank you! I’m so glad I got the opportunity to attend. I’m loving it, too, although sometimes it’s a little scary being vulnerable with art and not taking things personally. I feel safer doing the critiquing with this group. What a blessing! I’m going to try and find your blog. The first time, my computer acted up. It’s misbehaving lately. Hopefully I don’t have to buy a new computer soon. 🙂 God bless!

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