All of the members of Jez Lowes band, The Bad Pennies, are writers or composers, so they often criticize each others work. Over the years they have developed a
signal that tells everyone to back off on the criticism for a while. A few years back there was one band member who was being criticized, and he blurted out, I can take jokes about a lot of things, but not
about my writing! He immediately re-evaluated what he had said, and the whole group broke up laughing. Since that time, they have used that phrase as their signal to back off.
When you get involved with a group for evaluation of your poetry or songs, it is important to have a signal for when the pain is becoming too great to bear. It might be as simple as all the members of the
group having a card with a stop sign on it that they can hold up. This applies whether your group is just you and a friend or a dozen or more. You have to have a way to stop and have everyone back off for a