That being said, sometimes I feel like the worst crit partner ever. I may be honest and supportive when it comes to critiquing my partner's work, one thing I'm not is quick. It almost always takes me twice as long to get their MS back to them as it did for them to read mine. It's not that I don't love their story or their writing. It's not. It's the time I have in which to critique versus write.
I am the stay at home mom of two young boys. It's very, very rare for me to have time to read during the day, and you can pretty much forget about writing. I just can't focus when my sons (2 yo & 4 yo) are so needy. So when I finally get my children in the bed at night, all I want to do is write. I miss writing during the day and I've been thinking about it all day, with my characters running through my mind completely unleashed. It's my favorite part of the day.
That, however, isn't fair to my critique partners. They deserve the same amount of attention that they provide me, and I know that. I try to plan when I'll be able to read through a MS, so that I can get it back to them quickly, but it just never works as well as I'd like.
What I've learned is that I need a balance between my writing time and my critique time. Just as Christina said yesterday, critiquing others can make you a better writer. There is no doubt in my mind that this is true. I've learned so much just from reading their manuscripts and truly look forward to starting any new ones they are writing.
I realize I'm not exactly telling you how to achieve that balance, but I feel like finding it is as unique as each writer. You could have a set amount to read each day before allowing yourself to write. You could not let yourself write until you've read the whole MS. You could do it a number of ways. The important thing is that you remember to do it.
Balance between critiquing and writing isn't always easy for me, but I know it's necessary and my critique partners deserve nothing less.
Also, I posted this to my own blog earlier this week, but because it keeps inspiring me, I wanted to share it with you as well: