It's essential for a writer. My first reader is always Carrie, the woman who cuts my hair. What's great about her, aside from her skill with a pair of scissors and a blowdryer, is that she reads a lot. So I get feedback from the reader's perspective, not the writer's. I think we sometimes get too caught up in what other writers think and forget about the majority of the readers out there.
But, on the other hand, writers see things that a casual reader won't, but that an agent or editor might. So it's also very important to put our words in front of other writers. Then to listen to their feedback. Another thing I've noticed in my years of being a member of a critique group is that the ones who tend to need the most revisions are the very ones who don't listen. They argue back. Or, worse I think, you see them shut down. Just stop paying attention. In some cases, they quit the group altogether. Maybe this life isn't really for them.
So tomorrow night I get my feedback on MMG. And I'm just a little nervous about that. I already know it needs work. Quite a bit, in my opinion. But I need to hear what The Group says. I need to listen to what The Group says. Take notes. Answer questions. But don't talk back or explain or argue. Process it all for a few days--should be easy since Miss Elizabeth and her parents are visiting from Wednesday through Saturday. Then dive in and fix.
Carrie has decided to sit in. It'll be nice to have the Readers represented. She's fascinated by the process and The Group all want a Carrie of their own. She may soon have more reading than she knows what to do with. I think she'd like that.