Of course, what I didn't realize--and what I now understand, thanks to several new groups I've joined lately--is that the community doesn't just exist to give critiques. (And it certainly shouldn't exist just to give critiques to me.) Apart from the amorphous though extremely important function of offering moral support, a community can:
- Go to events together
- Create events and invite speakers
- Join together to give readings where individual speakers might not draw a big enough crowd
- Help publicize each other's work
- Recommend (or warn you away from) agents, publishers, publicists, etc.
- Advocate for one another and for fellow authors worldwide
- Eat good food and drink good wine
- Pull each other out of literary and personal ruts
Here I am with some of my writing buddies, at our party yesterday ...