Following on from my earlier post about writers' groups, I got to thinking: what do we need crits for? OK, I know, I know. We need crits to find out if our story is any good. But do crits really tell us? All they tell us is what a handful of people think, after all.
I think critting is useful because it helps us to see our work more objectively. That's a hard thing to do when you're stuck in your little garret scribbling away without another soul for company. The story is part of you; you give birth to it and like your beloved offspring it is too close to your heart to see its faults.
But it's not just what others think of our work that teaches us objectivity. It's what we learn from critting other people's work. That is ultimately more valuable because spotting someone else's flaws is always easier and teaches us to better spot our own. And ultimately that is what we need to do to become professional writers. We need to see our own flaws and fix them.