NaNoWriMo and Critique #IWSG

It’s the 1st Wednesday of the month again. That’s when I take part in Alex J. Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group. I encourage you to check out their website and even sign up for the IWSG Newsletter. Today I will share my experience with NaNoWriMo and critique groups, as I answer this month’s IWSG Day question:

Win or not, do you usually finish your NaNoWriMo project?

Have any of them gone on to be published?

NaNoWriMo and Critique Groups

NaNoWriMo 2016

Last year, I participated in NaNoWriMo. It was a great experience. I did win. I completed my VERY rough draft of about 75,000 words during the month of November 2016. Since then, I’ve completely rewritten it, changing characters, the plotline, even the genre. It started out as a cozy mystery and has morphed into more of a “procedural-lite.” I feel like I’ve lost some of the things I liked the most about the earlier version. On the other hand, I’ve closed a lot of plot holes and made the characters more believable in this version.

My Critique Group

The future cover for The Nature of Murder by Heather Erickson

I’m on the verge of bringing this new incarnation of my novel to the critique group I’m a part of. I do this with great hesitance. I truly feel insecure about it. What if all of this rewriting was a mistake? Maybe I should have… Maybe I could have…

No matter what, I have to cast my fears aside and take the risk. The only way to become a better writer is through the honest feedback of other writers you know and trust. I’m so thankful that I’ve found that. One of the things I would recommend to any writer that hasn’t already done so is to find a critique group. Then find a couple more and see which one is a good fit for you. I know of people who participate in multiple critique groups.

Consider the advice of your fellow writers.

The other thing I would recommend is to take what the members of your critique group say constructively. Fight the urge to defend your writing. You can choose to accept the advice of the other writers or take it with a grain of salt and forge ahead as you wish. When you have seven people all giving you very similar feedback, it’s a good bet that your readers will feel the same way.

NaNoWriMo 2017

So, this year, I’m not participating in NaNoWriMo. I have my current project (and about 3 others) still in progress, so I’d like to publish one or two of them before tackling another. Instead, I’ll cheer for the writers who are participating this year. I’ve got amazing nieces that tackle it each year. It’s a lot of fun to follow their progress and see them succeed.

What about YOU?

Are you participating in NaNo this year? Have you in the past? Did you finish?

If you did, did you publish?

I’d love to hear in the comment section, below. I appreciate my readers as well as the writing community. To show that appreciation, I use Comment Luv. Just leave a comment below and your latest post will get a link next to it. Thank you!


I am an author, writer, and speaker and homeschooling mom of 3. Since my husband, Dan was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer in 2012, I’ve focused my writing and speaking on helping cancer patients and their families advocate for themselves and live life to the fullest, in spite of their illness.

My goal is to help people face cancer with grace.

My book Facing Cancer as a Friend: How to Support Someone Who Has Cancer, is available on

The Erickson Family, Photo by Everbranch Photography

2 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo and Critique #IWSG”

  1. Is your critique group local? I just recently found a writer’s group in my area and attended the first meeting last week. It was a good experience! Hey–if you ever need a beta reader for your novel, let me know. 🙂

    • Thank you, Nancy. I’ll definitely do that. Our group is local. It used to be on meet-up, and then we started submitting things to Dropbox. That way, we don’t spend the meeting reading. Instead, we go around the room, critiquing one piece at a time. Afterwards, we email the writers our notes. It works very well and keeps us on task. Bless you, Nancy!

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