I love my critique group. I have come to need it, like some people need a vacation after visiting their in-laws (well, I'm in that category, too). We only meet once a month and I can tell when that third week rolls around without looking at the calendar. I get buggy. I need my fix to be with other writers, to share, to bitch, and on some occasions, to get my hand slapped (you know who you are) for being too negative.
I suffer from an affliction that plagues many writers - lack of confidence. I love what I'm writing when I write it, but I start to second guess myself the moment I think it might be ready for public viewing. I don't want to bother anyone or make them endure ten minutes of me reading something awful. But, as my posse reminds me, that's what the critique group is for, right? To help you avoid making the worst mistake a writer can make, which is sending a story to an editor before it is ready.
Combating the doubt for space in my brain is a sense of urgency. I need to get this story out. An agent is waiting. If I don't get something out soon, I'll have another year without a new release. If I don't get a new book out, librarians and teachers will forget who I am. I will be surpassed by all those debut authors who are younger than my laptop.
That's usually when I get a slap.
And I have to remind myself of the advice I give to others. "The publishing business is not a race of the swift. It is a pursuit for the persistent." I am my only competition. No one else is writing the book I am writing. An editor or agent would rather wait for a polished piece than get a hastily revised manuscript they would have to reject. My writing doesn't stink. And I'm only 51. I'm not dead yet.
Thanks guys! See you in a few weeks.