I'm feeling like it's about time to sing the praises of the small but consistent cadre of people who give their time over and over in the form of critiques.
No, I'm not mentioning names. It's interesting, because these things go in cycles. I'll see familiar names over and over again, and then things will shift and I'll see new familiar names. It's as though, as time goes by, this blog is continually supported by a gradually-changing-yet-always-constant group of writers who are truly the lifeblood around here.
So. THANK YOU.
Thank you for giving and giving and giving. Thank you for critiquing others when your own work is not up here. Thank you for offering help to aspiring authors when you, yourself, are already published. Thank you for helping aspiring authors when you, yourself, are not published. Thank you for coming back again and again, giving your time and expertise. Thank you for not being afraid of saying the wrong thing. Thank you for making this community a priority, for whatever reason.
Yes, I do notice you. I do see your screen name in my inbox. And others notice, too.
You know who you are.
This is a large, growing community. The number of daily visitors, particularly during contests and critique sessions, far surpasses the number of actual participants. While this ratio is no big deal on a regular blog post (like this one), since it's normal for more people to read than to comment, it is a big deal when it comes to critiques and contests.
Not so much with the reading-vs.-critiquing. I know there are a lot of you out there you are uber-beginners, and this blog is a learning tool for you. I WANT YOU TO BE HERE. It's okay if you're quiet; it's okay if you haven't taken the critique plunge yet. One day, when you're ready, you will.
What makes me say "hmm" is the contests and critique sessions in which there are 100 or more entries, yet the comments that the winning entries receive don't reflect this number. And I'm thinking...if you're willing to enter a contest, are you willing to critique even if your entry doesn't make it in?
Food for thought. Because, if you're far enough along to be seeking critique, then you're probably far enough along to be giving it. I do request that all entrants in contests critique a minimum of 5 other entries, which I feel is fair. Critiquing is time-consuming, and expecting folks to critique 49 excerpts simply because theirs is the 50th would be...inhumane. And would probably ignite mutiny.
But if you enter and don't get picked? Please consider offering your critique, anyway. (And, hey. Many of you already do this. I'm just trying to peel the wallflowers from the wall.)
I believe you all have something valuable to share here. You're writers, yes? And writers are a wonderful breed. (Not that I'm biased.)
This blog will continue to thrive in the strength of the few and the mighty. But imagine what we could become if everyone stepped up.
(Oh, how I love this community!)