Critique Groups Can Be Less Than Ideal

Critique groups can be less than ideal. You get a bunch of writers together to explicitly pick apart one another’s work, there’s no guarantee that you’re going to end up with something better, but you damn sure might end up with something routinely not you. And the opposite can be true, too — they might all love what you wrote, despite the fact that the thing you wrote needs serious work. This is complicated further by social biases: friends don’t want to hurt friends, so maybe they withhold honesty or literally don’t see the problem. Friends also might unconsciously want to hurt friends because, well, we’re a bundle of terrible complexities and maybe there’s some jealousy involved or some kind of unperceived resentment, oh no. Plus, a critique group sometimes feels obligated to find problems just to make use of themselves, which means they’re inventing problems rather than highlighting existing problems, and you might feel obligated to make changes because you don’t want to be rude — but maybe you have your own resentments and disregard good edits because of them, and, and, and….