I was so happy to meet the fabulous Heidi Aubrey last Friday in Seattle! She and I have been sharing our work online ever since we took the same novel-writing course at MediaBistro in 2005.
Once the class ended, Heidi formed an off-shoot critique group that swapped pages and comments every Sunday. Over the years it's evolved and changed shape, but the two of us have kept it going strong.
Not only is Heidi an excellent writer and copy editor, she's a true artist: taking art classes, attending conferences and seminars and always adding to her knowledge. Her notes are thoughtful and detailed, and she'll stay up all night working something through if need be.
I think it's good to find people who aren't necessarily friends to critique your writing. That way, no one will be afraid to lose the friendship by telling the truth (constructively, of course), and hopefully no feelings will be hurt because it's about writing, not maintaining a friendship.
But after four years of pen pal-ness, encouragement and support, I definitely consider Heidi a friend, and meeting her was terrific. I'm hoping we can hang out again next year. Here's to KeepTyping!!