Last year a few of us in the Bayou Writers' Group started meeting for coffee every Thursday. We'd get together at ten and visit until twelve. Then someone mentioned doing a little critiquing during that time. Our group grew. We've had as many as seventeen people show up. We have our social time during the first hour, then settle in to discuss someone's short story or first chapter we've read during the week.
You can tell by looking at us that we don't all read or write the same thing. We write children's material, mysteries, literary novels, romance, mainstream, short fiction, memoirs and westerns. Some of us just label our work Southern fiction and be done with it. We have published and unpublished writers sitting in this group. The thing is ... while we all come together from different experiences and points of view, we're all the same when we're sitting there critiquing. We want the same thing--for ourselves and each other. We share a dream. If I could wiggle my nose for each of these writers... if I could make it happen for them ...
If only I could!
I've never liked the word potential. When someone--usually a contest judge--wrote, "Your manuscript has potential," I hated it. The word potential meant I wasn't quite good enough; I needed to work harder to get better.
Just look at this group; this is a room full of potential. Their stories and novels are getting better and better with each critique. I see it and learn from it. Best of all--for me at least--is that being a part of this group has taught me that potential is an action word.