2) They know how to look out for you. They will give it to you straight, but at the same time, they tell you in a way they would want you to tell them. I have found out over time that my descriptions are my strong suit-- most of the time. I need to work on action scenes and words. It might be hard for a partner to give it to you straight, but in the long run, this improved my writing and editing. Before I hand it into them, I heed their previous advice.
3) They can suggest helpful resources. There are tons of books, podcasts, magazines and so forth that assist writers. My group has a discussions about what we have found over the past month from the latest episode of a podcast or our current book reads. If we are confused about punctuation, we pull out the Chicago Manual of Style to decide what we should use in different circumstances. These discussions have helped us decide on what we think of different resources and push ourselves to utilize them. I, for example, use Twitter as an every day to keep up with the latest news while my partners listen to the Writing Excuses podcast. If there is something we really want to share (for example: websites like 750 Words), we send the links to each other via our Yahoo! Group.
4) Insight into different writing processes. Our group consists of "seat of the pants" writers where we have an idea, sit down, and see where it goes. I have a partner outside of the group who has a detailed outline before writing her novels. We each have our own way of bringing out our stories and it is enlightening to find out how we came up with an idea or how it just happened. Editing and revision have become a bigger part of our process than we might have realized before so there are a lot of steps and lessons we have each overcome to develop our stories. Having people in my corner as I have struggled with some of these challenges has given me more strength to keep moving forward.
5) They are one of the best tools to grow as a writer. Have you noticed that all of the points before lead to growth? Critique partners benefit each other by helping improve each other's quality of writing. They are the cheerleaders, the challengers, the teachers, the editors, the wordsmiths, the students, and, of course, friends that we need to get us to where we want to go.
Here's to the amazing critique partners! Especially my own (Kris, Paul, and Rhiannon!).
After writing all of this, it makes me wonder if we need Writing Critique Partner Day?
How to Start a Local Writing Critique Group
Comic used with permission from Debbie Ridpath Ohi at Inkygirl.com