The best writing advice I ever received was from a fellow writer. She told me that if I was serious about writing that I should join a critique group so that I could improve. At first, it was somewhat intimidating to share my rough drafts with complete strangers. I posted my work on several websites before finally discovering the helpful writers at

Scribophile is an amazing website.

In order to post your work, you must first critique other members’ work. I know that this dissuades many writers from joining because it’s a time commitment to provide thoughtful critiques. However, I feel the time I spent critiquing others’ work vastly improved my writing abilities. It was time well spent, and I’d recommend the site to any writer.

The greatest benefit of joining a critique group is that it gives you the opportunity to meet and connect with traditionally and self-published authors. Without their help, my novel, The Waterfall Traveler, would still be an idea swirling around in my head. Their guidance helped me refine my ideas so that I could focus on specific themes and construct an engaging plot. Additionally, their continuous reviews and suggestions helped me clarify ideas, develop my characters, improve dialogue, and identify areas where tension needed to be raised. My critique partners are some of the nicest folks I’ve ever met and I’m tremendously grateful that they took the time to help me when I had so much to learn. Now that I am much more knowledgeable, I try to follow in their footsteps and help aspiring writers when I can. I always welcome writers to reach out to me if they have questions.

Above all, joining a critique group helped me overcome self-doubt (which I think many writers experience from time to time).  When I first started writing, I worried that my work was terrible and that no one would enjoy reading it. But my critique partners helped me get past those fears.  They reminded me that very few people attempt to write a book, and of those who do, only a small number actually finish. So even if I wrote the worst story ever written, the important thing was that I tried. I think all writers should feel very proud and good about whatever they’ve created because of the amount of dedication and persistence it takes to complete a work.

Thank you so much for featuring me on your blog. I hope what I’ve shared can help others.
About The Waterfall Traveler

The Waterfall Traveler
by S.J. Lem
Publisher: Carpe Noctem Publishing
Publication date
: April 19th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult


All eighteen-year-old Ri wants is to cure her adoptive father Samuel from his hallucination-inducing illness. Everyone in her village tells her it’s impossible. But when she meets two newcomers in the forest—a gruff rogue with a vendetta against the gods and a charming fugitive who saves her life—she’ll be torn away from Samuel and swept across the sea to an oppressive city governed by a ruthless tyrant. Once there, she’ll not only have to confront Samuel’s unlawful past, but a vicious evil that threatens all mankind.

In this tale of bravery, friendship, and unforeseen love, Ri risks it all to save those she cares for. But if she prevails, she’ll find the one thing she yearns for most—a cure for Samuel.

About the Author

S.J. Lem is a digital art director gone writer in hopes of expanding her creative aspirations. Whether it’s introducing dimensional characters, crafting imaginative worlds, or transporting readers into high-stakes adventures, she strives to deliver an immersive experience.

She lives in Chicago with her husband and son. When not writing, she enjoys pottery, gardening, and volunteering. Connecting with readers and fellow writers is one of her greatest joys.

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