I left my last critique group two years ago, when F was a newborn and something in my schedule had to give. Since then, I’ve occasionally swapped manuscripts via e-mail with maybe a half-dozen friends. And while I loved the monthly in-person camaraderie with my last group, I thought I was doing fine without it.

But in the past week I read a trio of posts — by Devas T, Kat’s Eye, and wordswimmer — that stirred up a whole bunch of longing for being back in a group: For that nervous excitement that comes from debuting a fresh manuscript. For the collective enthusiasm that comes with helping push a member’s promising manuscript toward its full potential. And for the inspiration that comes from not wanting to show up empty-handed for the monthly critique session.

Scheduling will be tricky — F sure hasn’t gotten less active since those newborn days, and the weekend hours that would be best suited for critiquing are also among the hours that my wife gets a well-deserved break from wrangling our boys. Of course, if I can find a critique group specializing in just the right kind of manuscripts, I might be able to get both boys to listen right along with the rest of us.