Last Saturday, Cathy Maxwell, New York Times bestselling historical romance author, was luncheon speaker at a writer's conference in Virginia Beach. The importance of critique groups to Cathy's career stood out for me during her talk.
When Cathy joined Virginia Romance Writers she had recently developed a dream to become a published author, but she hadn't written anything. She did, however, become a part of a critique group. She then brought in other aspiring writers to that group, including Mary Burton, now another New York Times bestselling author, who hadn't yet written anything at the time. They, along with several other writers she named, read each others work, passing manuscript pages to each other often while working at their day jobs.
The critique groups worked for them. They supported each other and obviously became successful writers.
Soon after I started writing fiction, my instructor at the community college where I was taking a writing class formed a critique group with some of her students and I was part of it. We read each others work and learned a great deal in the process. Unlike Cathy and Mary, we were not all romance writers. Several people wrote non-fiction and later had successful books published. None were New York Times bestsellers.
Do you belong to a critique group? I know a lot of people who believe their successful writing careers began there!