Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Ten Things I’ve Learned from My Critique Group

1. Dickeys belong on more than one body part.
2. Silverware can be beautifully inspiring…or rather bawdy.
3. Critique group members can be beautifully inspiring…or rather bawdy.
4. Washing your hair at work may be hazardous to your health.
5. What happens in critique group…gets written about. So beware!
6. Put five women in a room together, and there will be chocolate. And laughter.
7. WWWPs give the best gifts.  And sometimes they help each other shop.
8. Critique group members are incredibly talented. You never know when one will pull out the life-sized statue of David she papier-mâchéd out of recycled coffee filters while penning her novel with a child or grandchild on her knee (after work, of course). Or she’ll casually mention the replica of the world map that she needlepointed for a charity event just before entering the triathlon. Or she’ll hand you little personalized gifts she whipped up in between speeches and conferences and side-jobs and writing and submitting and receiving awards for said writing….
9. That’s okay, because there is almost nothing better in this world than a group of wise, wicked, witty, warm women. In spite of their many talents, critique group members are incredibly kind, generous and inspiring. Not to mention a whole lot of fun.
10. We adore the art of words, all of us. But I often think these women can have no idea just how precious their words are to me. The ones they’ve written astound and amaze and delight and teach me. The compliments are like an arm extended on a battlefield to rescue me from the endless war with the infamous, art-killing self-doubt. And their criticisms, offered with such honest and wise and tender hands, is in a very real sense the other arm that extends on that same battlefield and lets me know if I grasp hold, they will not release me. They are heroes who help the precious words survive another day. A sincere thank you to the WWWPs—the Wild Women Wielding Pens: Lynn Obermoeller, Linda O’Connell, Sioux Roslawski, and Beth Wood.

Writers do not let friends write crap.~Sioux Roslawski 


  1. 1. I don't think I said that. I think you're giving the wrong person credit. Actually, I think your brain is clogged up with Lynn's culinary concoctions.

    2. You did it again. That last paragraph, beginning with, "The compliments are like an arm extended..." is beautiful. The phrase "infamous, art-killing doubt." Wow.

    3. I had forgotten about the dickeys. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. 1. I beg to differ. Are you saying I don't correctly quote my sources? http://siouxspage.blogspot.com/2011/01/writerly-friends.html
    2. Thank you!
    3. You're welcome.

  3. But...can a dickey be used as a buffer between a head and a faculty bathroom faucet and sink?

  4. Okay. I'm game. Just what other body parts do Dickey's belong on?

    ...And,by the way, I want to meet the lady that paper-mâchéd the life-size statue of David.

  5. It's wonderful to connect on such a personal level with other writers. Sounds like you have a terrific group!

    Critter Alley

  6. Val, what a great idea! Or if a person, say, rubbed some hair off getting her head stuck in the sink, she could merely wear the Hair Dickey to cover the bald spot!

    Tom, you need to watch more infomercials. And I'll tell the paper mâché-er she has yet another fan. By the way, I hope that's the correct spelling of "paper mâché." I copied and pasted it from the internet. I'm not sure, but I did think all those little accent symbols looked impressive.

    You're right, Pat, it is!

  7. Right back at you Tammy. So blessed to be part of this incredible group of amazing women. ; )

  8. And of course, I'm blessed too! Thank you Tammy!

  9. What a fun group, and I agree with Sioux's quote.

  10. Papper mache`d life size statue...I wish you'd quit talking about the way I dress.

    What would I do without all of you? You are all like the creme filled center of an Oreo cookie: sweet, have good taste, make me happy.

  11. Hi Tammy, between what you and Sioux write about it, I sure do wish that I was closer, and could visit your group sometime! What a lovely tribute, and thanks so much for your visit.

    Kathy M.

  12. I love "Writers do not let friends write crap" from Sioux. What a wonderful group you have, Tammy.
    Has anyone heard from Lisa since her father-in-law died this spring? I just checked out Writing in the Buff and there's nothing since May 5.
    I'm sure she's very busy, but I do wonder if anyone has heard from her.
    By the way, my verification is "2 biqueds" which sets me to wondering what biqueds might or might not be if they were a real word. Defies my imagination so far, but I think I'll pass this question along to my husband the punster. He'll think of something so awful I'll just have to respond with an improvement.


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