Bryon Cannon’s catsignal blog inspired me to ask other imaginative writers in our area to start blogs of their own and join us in a “Northeast Kansas Writers’ Exchange.” We share creative writing challenges and mutual criticism.
This group is simple to join: Start a blog and post your work. Subscribe to other writers’ blogs too. Read their work as you have time, comment on it as you feel moved, and welcome their comments on yours.
It’s even simpler to quit. If you don’t enjoy it, just stop participating.
Subscribe to each other’s blogs via email, RSS, or other method. Make such tools available on your own site. (It’s easy and free to set up a WordPress blog like this. Instructions here.)
We could challenge each other from time to time: “Write a Bible-style parable with an O. Henry ending,” or “Write a descriptive poem with no modifiers, at least ten lines long.” Whoever accepts the challenge can post on their own blog.
The idea is to write regularly, share results, and offer mutual criticism. I suggest a few reasonable guidelines:
- Proofread before you post.
- Read others’ work and comment when you can.
- Criticize the work of others as you would have others criticize yours.
- Thank those who help you develop your craft.
I really want criticism. “Took too long to get my interest” does not hurt my feelings. “I was led to expect something interesting and nothing happened” and “The protagonist is so irritating I stopped reading” are instructive and welcome comments. I need frank reader response — say how the work affected you. You don’t have to suggest how to fix it, but you can if you want to.