Wow, I got my first follower. LOL.
I am about to embark on the journey of a critique partner and/or group. Yes, I finally signed up for it with not one, but two of my RWA chapters that offer this service to their chapter members.
It's funny, I have friends that swear by their critique partner and groups, and then I have friends that have had bad experiences with them. I'm on the latter end. I survived, yes survived, my way through several college and university creative writing classes. These classes did not make me in any way eager for the concept of sharing my writing for the purpose of critiquing.
To put it plainly, the classes were brutal. Sometimes the teachers would allow it and other times the teachers would attempt to curb it, but there was always this level of meanness in the classes. Not from everyone in the class, there were the few students (or maybe there were more, but the meanies overshadowed the good ones) that did their best to provide thoughtful critiques of your work. In several classes (and I'm not just talking about critiques given to me, but to my other classmates) there was this element of one upmanship. As in, I am a way better writer than you, because look how I have shown everyone what a stupid little story you have written by pointing out the 101 things wrong with it.
I for a short period of time joined a critique group (of sorts), but it quickly floundered as members stopped coming, and as with my previous experience I found that certain people seemed to be in the one upmanship category while others did want to help.
I am about to attempt it again as I've decided that at a minimum I at least need some beta readers for my stuff. I'm crossing my fingers, and I'm actually excited that I might connect with other writers that will help me become a better writer (and hopefully I can help them in return).
So, what about you. Do you have beta readers, a critique buddy, or critique group? Or do you avoid them at all costs?