Posted by: jeannineatkins | August 28, 2009

Critique Groups and their Deadlines

I’m back in the land of husband, dogs, and New England weather in its politest form. I was sad to leave the girls to work, beach lounging in Malibu (somebody’s got to do it), and heading to a book signing by the guy in What Not to Wear, who didn’t show up, with apparently only an hour’s notice, at the small bookshop in LA. We hope he had an excellent excuse, and it wasn’t just about nothing to wear.

Here on the porch, I’m trying to make a few chapters pretty enough to send to my critique group, which meets next week. They’re a lovely threesome who wouldn’t push, though I’d pretty much promised to have something for the meeting. The threat, or fear of disappointing them, is entirely in my mind, but it’s a good thing. I’ve been moving around and about this novel, but I need to stand firmly in one place for a while and get things tidy enough for the eyes of others. So they can shake things up again, call me back to dig more holes to jump over, scratch out places for me to hoe firmly once again.

Really I love a deadline, especially one that’s harrowing mostly in my mind.



  1. To die for….
    …though we curse, grumble and otherwise complain, creatives would be nothing but wanderers without deadlines.
    You got that right!

  2. I bet you never ever disappoint your group.
    Glad you’re home safely. You brought fall!

  3. Re: To die for….
    “Wanderers without deadlines.” Nice phrase. I’d suggest putting it on a cup — but it’s not exactly motivational!

  4. My group is most polite — but thanks, Jo! And for the welcome home and crediting me with the weather. I must admit I was glad to miss the wringing-out-t-shirt days, but I don’t want to think the swimming season is over.
    But on for a great fall. If we could only find a cure for lyme, and help out M., life would be good.

  5. I love to hear about your porch writing days–even though I’m on the Pacific side, I feel like I’m working alongside you. Glad you have a non-stressful deadline–go Jeannine!

  6. I’m glad you like hearing about the porch, because I intend to stay here until I get back to chapter 11 or until the snow falls.
    And I love working beside you, too, Lorraine! Moving from a caffeinated morning to herbal iced tea.

  7. It’s amazing how much harder I work when I know it’s time to submit to my critique group. Happy writing!

  8. So many great reasons for a critique group. They give us deadlines without making us feel crazy.
    Hope you get in more writing time in the back to school season (after the initial dramas)!

  9. Oh, I’m sure Clinton had a REALLY good reason. 🙂
    Yay for critique deadlines. It’s a gentle, tiny sense of accountability, isn’t it? (

  10. What a good way to put it, “gentle, tiny sense of accountability” — of course you wrote the book on this!
    and re Clinton, the girls were SO disappointed. And I’m sure they put a lot of thought into what they’d wear — and no one to raise an eyebrow or not.

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