Critique Groups - who needs them? Apparently, Me.

It took me two years to write (and another two to spec edit) the book my agent sold last year, and I’m coming up on a similar timeline with my second one. Which is driving me insane. It shouldn’t take this long! But I do this thing where I write maybe twenty or fifty pages, then I can’t continue until I go over and over and over those pages, hating them and revising and changing until I feel like they’re right before I can move on. Weeks, months go by. Ridiculous. I’ve been wondering if I should even bother finishing this one. So I tried to find a critique group on Craigslist which did NOT work out (So. Much. EROTICA! Not in my wheelhouse. Also? Come on, one reading erotica is super concerned about the syntax or narrative clarity.) Eventually I figured out I could find critique groups via SCWBI, which I did, and I attended two of them, and Hoo Mama! People had amazing things to say, suggestions as simple as “Maybe you should think about moving this here, or that there, and maybe not use the same adjective four times in one paragraph...just sayin.” Saved me months. Months! And I am in LOVE with my current book once again, I wake up impatient to write every day knowing people other than me are going to be reading the pages and probably steering me away from dumb cliffs I may have otherwise dropped off. It IS a good book, worth finishing so I can run it up the pole and see who salutes. So far, critique groups win! I only hope I’ve contributed anything useful to them in return. Aside from banana oatmeal muffins.