Critique Group Talk with Shanda McCloskey

“Life is pain, highness. Anyone who tells you differently is selling something.
Wesley (The Princess Bride)

Modifying this quote to fit her writing experience, author-illustrator Shanda McCloskey says,

“Writing is pain. Anyone who tells you differently is self-published.”

“I kid! I kid!” Shanda says, “The point is, for me, writing is long-suffering, worthy work that you hope ends in satisfaction and joy … eventually.”


Me: Shanda, What is the writing life like for you?

“Writing to be published (traditionally) is grueling. Honestly, I’m not very good at it, but trying satisfies me within. So I do it. To live. To feel challenged. To be me. But it’s too much to bear alone. You’d go nuts from all the ups and downs and starting overs. I almost have!”

Me: I feel so lucky to be in the same critique group with you! What does our Trail Mix group mean to you?

“I have a writing family- a sisterhood actually. Nine women, including myself, that meet once a month in a safe place to lay the work of our hearts on the table, to speak up, to speak truth, to guide and be guided. It’s one of the most beautiful friendships I’ve ever experienced in my 30 something years. We have a bond weaved of joys, tragedies, triumphs, failures, hopes, fears, dreams, laughter, changes, tears, waiting, strengths, weaknesses, and the acceptance of hard truths. We’ve done life and stories together for almost 10 years!”

Our Trail Mix Critique Group

Me: What would you say to an aspiring writer who feels alone on the journey?

I’m sure there are plenty of writers out there who can navigate their minds and lives alone with ease. But I cant. (Not very well anyway.) But I’m gonna be okay. I’ve got my “Trail Mix” critique group sisters. I’m so lucky!

I’m so proud of you Shanda! Of all that you have accomplished of course, but mostly that I get to call you friend and be on this amazing kid lit journey with you! Click here to purchase Shanda’s incredible debut picture book Doll-E 1.0 and be on the lookout for another title by Shanda next year!

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