“Go to sleep.”
This sequence, or one very similar, is a familiar sound in our Page 42 Writers’ Critique Group. Some of our members use voice activated software to write. When it is one of their turns to share their critique, they first have to wake up their computer and direct it with voice commands to go to the submission we are working on.
Another frequent phrase used is, “Joan, remember to start the recording.” We don’t record the words scribed by each writer., but we record the critiques shared by each member. After the meeting, software transcribes these suggestions before being sent to each member.
Page 42, a group of six writers affected by disability meets monthly, in cooperation with Word Weavers International. Adjusting to work with voice activation, and recording and transcribing critiques, are two of the components that make our group unique.
Some blessings we’ve experienced include:
- One member found a renewed love for writing; a gift she had shelved in her life.
- Another member had a chapter published in an anthology of stories about family life and disability (this was her first time being published).
- Someone else has had a couple of her writings accepted for guest posts on other sites. This member submits a small word count most months. At first, that seemed too little to review. As we got to know her, it became apparent that she takes most of the month to get those words typed. We have all come to respect and honor her Herculean efforts and the wisdom she shares.
- Yet another member self-published a book this year. Page 42 has helped him promote his work.
Potential new members visit our group before joining.One visitor noted he had difficulty understanding critiques shared by one member. Her disability significantly affects her speech. But then when he heard her writing read aloud, the depth of her understanding and connection awed him. He summed up the meeting, saying, “ I cannot wait to join. It felt so good to realize I would not have to feel alone anymore. I loved the way each person understood things that were written about disability. And that no one made another person feel bad about areas needing correction. They shared with grace and truth.”
To me, his words highlight the real value of Page 42:
- People with disabilities have gifts, including the gift of writing.
- We share critiques “sandwich style.” This means we start and end with a positive, encouraging comment, that sandwiches the suggestions shared. We all want to learn and be the best we can. What a joy to have a group where people feel accepted, receive honest grace filled feedback and grow in their skills to the glory of God.
Do you wonder why we are called Page 42? Word Weavers offers two types of critique groups, both meeting monthly. Chapters meet face to face. Pages meet online. The number of the Page simply shows how many groups exist. But, being married to a baseball guy, I know the significance of 42. Jackie Robinson wore these iconic digits when he broke the color barrier in baseball. Similarly, Page 42 is breaking down barriers for Christian writers with disabilities.
Please encourage these writers with a note below, and follow their writing at these sites: