An Open Letter to Vicki Leigh: A Great Critique Partner and Dear Friend

Dear Vicki,

I’m so happy for your success in finding others who love your stories as much as I do. Signing with an agent is only the beginning of your writing journey and I’m ecstatic to come along with you for the ride.

When I first started to really get serious about writing, I didn’t know what a critique partner was or the difference between a pantser vs plotter or what plot points even were. All I knew was I had these fake people running around in my head that wouldn’t shut up until I started telling their stories. As naive as I was, I caught onto the importance of having these so-called CPs, so I went on a hunt for them via Google search. You were one of the first people I timidly emailed asking if you might want to exchange some writing and give feedback. I was beyond excited when you replied and said you’d love to.

I had written a lot of “beginnings” of novels before meeting you but I was in awe of working with someone who had actually completed a WHOLE book. I know you have since shelved the idea for the time being, but it was encouraging to see another writer with a completed manuscript who just moved onto the next idea, never looking back, always looking out to the future and the other stories you had to tell.

As you know, I am still struggling through completing my first manuscript and some days, I just want to give up. I think of all the thousands of writers out there, many who are better than me, many who have more time than me, many who have more experiences than me…and I wonder if I’m wasting my time. But it is friends like you who continually encourage me that keep my faith and hope going that one day I can share my stories with others and that they might love them too.

It’s a crazy thing we do as writers…pouring out our hopes and fears and beliefs into stories and characters and issues that take us months, sometimes years, to complete. Most days are a struggle, we get little recognition, and rejection is more common than success. But having a CP – and a friend – like you makes the struggle worthwhile. To know that someone else believes in your work as much (maybe sometimes even more) than you do makes it kind of impossible to quit.

So I raise my virtual glass of champagne to you today. May you never lose sight of the amazing writer you are and the great friend you have become to me. Congratulations!!!

With love (and lots of happy flailing),

– Jessica


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