I hope all of you who partook in Halloween festivities yesterday had a wonderful, safe evening. Kristin Lenz sent in today's tip, which I love, along with a note about a couple interview-giveaways she has up in the blogosphere this week. If you'd like to learn more about author Lara Zeilin and enter for a chance to win The Imposion of Aggie Winchester make sure you stop by YA Fusion and YA Stands to read Kristin's interviews. But before you go, here's her tip!
Donna Jo Napoli spoke at the SCBWI-MI fall conference last month. She described an awful thing we do to ourselves. As children, we draw pictures, and our parents display our work. Visitors ooh and aah and praise our talent. We get an A on a spelling test, it goes on the refrigerator. We write a story, it gets passed around, and our creative genius is applauded. Then we grow up, and the criticism begins. It chips away at our confidence, doubt creeps in. We censor ourselves. A great critique group can provide support and encouragement, a nurturing environment to grow our skills, and some butt-kicking to challenge ourselves. But here’s an additional idea:
My SCBWI-MI friend, Leslie Schneider, has a critique group AND a writing group. Her writing group gathers to write and share and give positive critiques. No negativity, no criticism, no sandwich method… only positive words.
They begin with a prompt – an object, a photograph, a line from a book. Sometimes, they use writing workbooks that provide prompts/exercises. Everyone writes for 5, 10, 15 minutes; they’re not formal about it. Some prompts result in more material. They take turns reading their work aloud, and the others tell what they liked. That’s it. It’s free-flowing expression, crappy-first-draft type of writing; it doesn’t need to be critiqued. But it gets you writing. It gets you through those stuck moments. It helps you turn off that internal censor that’s questioning/correcting/revising as you write. It’s a cure for writer’s block, as well as a new story generator. Like journaling or morning pages, you might never return to the material, but more likely it’ll seep into your psyche and morph into a character, a setting, a conflict, a plot.
I’m ready to give it a try. How about you?