Fangtastic Friday and a Writer’s Life

I belong to a critique group.


The four of us (Jeanne, Tara, Beth and I) meet weekly.


It’s a huge commitment.


We’ve been together for almost four years, and over that time, we’ve shared not only our writing goals, but many of our personal hopes and dreams.


We call ourselves the Pink Fire Writers.  Jeanne came up with the name, and we all liked it.  We never got all philosophical about what it means, but for me, it signifies feminine (pink), motivation (fire), and what we make no excuses for being (writers).


As I thought back over the things we’d laughed and cried about in 2011, it struck me how rich our relationship has become.  We not only communicate our writing aspirations.  We reveal our lives.  Sometimes our writing goals take precedence, and we huddle to come up with a villain’s name.  And sometimes life intervenes, and we celebrate the attributes of a new beau or cry together over the loss of a beloved dog.


This past year, we had our share of ups.  One of us got published, one of us got a new puppy, one of us got an agent, and one of us met a guy online.  Consequently, she’s planning a spring wedding.

Truth is, Beth got a black lab, but isn't this little guy cute?


And we had our share of downs.  One of us got rejected by her dream agent, one of us lost a cherished pet, one of us made extensive revisions to her “breakthrough” book…only to be sent back to the drawing board by her editor, and one of us attended more family funerals than a person should have to endure in one year.


We ventured out.  One of us went to RWA’s biggie in New York, one of us went to an Al-Anon meeting, one of us attended the Writer’s Digest Conference, and one of us made repeated trips to Greensboro to take care of an ailing mother.


We’re not just writing buddies.  We’re friends.  We love and hate our writing.  We praise and admonish each other.


Though we usually buckle down to business every Monday at 2:30 p.m., we end the year with our annual Christmas lunch.  We exchange writers’ gifts, which range from a package of copy paper and highlighters to technique books on dialogue and character development.  This year, my gift was a journal and a Writer’s Digest book entitled, Inspiration and Motivation, by Paul Raymond Martin.  It’s chock full of quotes.  I leave you with one…


“Better a literary career ruined by the pursuit of life than the other way around.”


What about you?  Do you participate in a critique group?  How has it impacted your writing…and your life?

10 Responses to “Fangtastic Friday and a Writer’s Life”
  1. Nina Croft says:

    Hi Susan – your critique group sounds fantastic. I live in a really remote area in the mountains of southern Spain so a face to face critique group wouldn’t work for me, but I’m in a couple of on line groups and they are wonderful – not just for critting, and as a source of industry information, but it’s also great to know that there are other people going through the same things. They’re there to commiserate if things go wrong and congratulate when things go right…

    • Susan Blexrud says:

      Yes, having a face-to-face critique group is certainly a blessing, but living in southern Spain sounds like quite a blessing, too. Glad you’re getting what you need online. There’s nothing like a community of writers! We keep each other going. Thanks for commenting, Nina.

  2. Dawn McClure says:

    Hi Susan! I belong to one on line group and I have several friends in the biz. I think the best thing about having writer friends is that they know exactly what you’re going through, and they all have similar stories. I just spoke with a long-time friend on the phone today, and we were talking about the changes in the industry and what we were working on. It’s great because they ‘get you.’ I could talk to my husband about the industry and he just looks at me. LOL

    • Susan Blexrud says:

      My husband glazes over if I try to share anything about my writing life. And forget asking him about a plot line. Thankfully, I have a community of writer friends who can provide feedback. I’m proud you’re one of them, Dawn.

  3. Jessa Slade says:

    I had a critique group that met weekly for over a decade. Real life intervened and the group eventually dissolved, but I learned a lot in those ten years. I think one of the most important things I learned was to be accountable. Because, hey, we met every week; I gotta have SOMEthing written!

    Now I have a small group of beta readers I can go to for feedback. And I have Twitter friends who yell at me if I’ve been online too long 😉 Creating a core of like-minded writers has been vital to me. What that core looks like has changed, but the support is the same.

    • Susan Blexrud says:

      You met for over a decade? Wow, I’m impressed, Jessa. Glad to know you’re keeping a support group through your beta readers, etc. Many thanks for visiting Embrace the Shadows. XO, Susan

  4. denissea says:

    That’s so great that you have such great people to rely on. Most of mine aren’t near me and are online. So cherish the friendship and the help! 🙂

    • Susan Blexrud says:

      I’ve loved the online friends I’ve met, but the advantage of face-to-face critique partners is that we really get to know each other, warts and all. I do cherish my group. Thanks for commenting, Denise.

  5. The friends you meet in critique groups are like no others. Best of luck to you and the Pink Fire ladies!

    • Susan Blexrud says:

      Thanks, Miriam. Yes, I love my group. We have truly helped each other become better writers, and better people, too.

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