I’m involved in two critique groups, and I think they are INTEGRAL to my success as a writer. I use the term “success” loosely. While I’ve not been published (YET!) I don’t think my book would even be finished if it weren’t for the encouragement/harassment/prodding of the group. Certainly, my book would not be nearly as good if it weren’t for them.
It’s interesting, because the members of the writer’s group, are very different from me in writing style. One is writing a romance novel, and another an epic, family drama involving World War I. Someone else is writing primarily things of faith. Mine is the only YA novel, but somehow it all works.
We get together every few weeks to encourage each other, give honest feedback about each other’s work, and share the high’s and low’s on the road to becoming published authors.
If you’re a writer without a critique group, I understand the FEAR of sharing with strangers. But do it. Your writing will be stronger, and you just may make life-long friends. Nothing binds people together like fear and humiliation!