You look so nice today! In fact, I've noticed that you have really lovely clothing, and you pay such close attention to how you dress.
What's that, you say? You're worried your closet is a bit of a mess? You know, people say I'm good at organizing closets. I have a couple of hours. I'd love to help out, that is, if you could use the extra hand.
How does each offer make you feel?
Which one are you most likely to take up?
Now, here's the story of my critique group. One year minus eleven days ago, Gina commented on this here blog (when it was just a baby!) offering to critique my manuscript.
The key part of that paragraph? "Offering."
She must have known from reading the blog what a hot mess the MS in question was. She didn't care. Something she saw over here made her want to hang out with me (God help her) and she offered her help.
Well, I followed her example, and started stalking the Dickens out of contests and blogs. I scoped out plot lines that interested me, writing I loved, people who seemed dedicated to their work. I asked them (begged them) to read their manuscripts. That's how we found Maggie, Chessie, Jenny, and Jamie, in pretty short order. Not long after that, we snagged Marieke, MarcyKate, Megan, and the whole rest of the crew. (I have a list of my CPs and their blogs on my "Resources for Writers" page. - go visit them!) I read, critiqued, and raved about their manuscripts.
And, wouldn't you know it? All of them offered to read my MSs, too.
We became friends over email and Twitter. We dragged each other through the mud and muck of revisions and/or the query trenches. We probably would be lost without each other.
So, instead of getting people to read your stuff and give you their amazing input by asking them to do something for you (i.e. "Who wants to beta read for me?!?!",) try asking people if you can do something for them. I'll bet that not only will they give a lot more care to your work, but critiquing their work will make you a better writer, too.
And if things work out, you'll have a friend for life.
Which is the best part, really.
(If you made it this far and still don't hate me, heads up - I'm going live with a new site in the next few days, and the blog address will change to www.leighannkopans.blogspot.com. If you follow through Google or just clicked the "follow" button, it should still show up in your feed, but if it doesn't, now you know why. THANK YOU for following and for staying with me while I'm under construction!)