I know I'm giving away my age with this picture, but when I was a little girl, I used to love watching Lost In Space. The Robinson's family robot was one of my favorite characters because it fascinated me whenever that robot would say, "Danger, Will Robinson!" and start flapping those arms. That family had ventured into the unknown world of outer space and every week I would hold my breath to see if they would survive all the dangers which surrounded them. Thankfully, they had that robot.
When I was 21 I decided to move from Lafayette, Louisiana to Dallas, Texas and one of the obstacles in my way was the bridge over the Sabine River which connected the two states. If you were traveling from east to west, the middle of the bridge had a sign at the very top welcoming you to Texas. I hated that bridge. It was VERY tall, VERY scary and I didn't have someone like the Robinson's robot to help guide and protect me while I traveled into the unknown life waiting for me in Texas.
Today, writers have people available to guide them on their travels toward becoming a published author. They are called a critique group...a group of like-minded individuals...who are willing to read each other's work and provide input on a variety of topics to improve each other's writing.
But there are some dangers involved that naturally come with belonging to a critique group. In Kristen Lamb's blog ( http://www.warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2012/01/16/can-critique-groups-do-more-harm-than-good.html ), Kristen brings up valid points for new writers to watch out for when they are choosing a critique group to join.
Unlike those lemmings, I don't want to just hear sugar coated praise about my stories. I'm a big girl. I can take it. I want the truth. Input that will challenge me to grow as a writer. A new pair of eyes that will find the flaws in my writing and help me to cull unnecessary words. A support group that cares enough about me to offer "tough love" in order for me to polish my manuscript to the brightest, strongest version of itself.
If the life of a writer includes the ups and downs of a roller coaster ride, then a well chosen critique group are the people sitting next to you in that cart. They are ready to cheer you on and celebrate each victory along the way. The Robinsons might have had that robot, but I've got my rocking roller coaster buddies.
Hang on everybody, it's going to be an interesting ride!