Top Five ways to be a helpful critiquer in a writing group:

Focus on what you like about the piece along with your suggested areas for improvement. You don’t have to like the genre or identify with the content to give a helpful critique.

Being published is not a requirement for being a critiquer. You’ve been reading and honing your craft for years.

Don’t always be first to jump in, and don’t monopolize the feedback discussion. Allow others in the group ample time to chime in.

Share information about workshops and conferences you’ve attended. Recommend articles and books you’ve read on the craft. Reference relevant literature to illustrate key points of your feedback.

Leave punctuation and small grammatical errors to your written remarks on the manuscript. The discussion should focus on the storytelling (e.g., plot, conflict, dialogue, character development).

Top Five ways to accept group critiques of your writing:

Expect the other members to suggest changes. Hope for the best and prepare for the worst. A critique group is no place for an ego.

Don’t take it personally. If they don’t like your writing or your characters, it doesn’t mean they don’t like you.

Writing is an art and therefore critiques are subjective. You don’t have to incorporate all of the feedback you receive. If you hear the same feedback repeatedly, however, you should consider editing.

Listen to the feedback and resist the urge to defend your work. Explain what you’re trying to achieve, and ask for clarification if you don’t understand what the critiquer is suggesting. Keep debates healthy.

Leave time between when you receive the critique and when you edit your work based on the critique. Time adds clarity.