Not that my head had grown too big for my hat, lately. If it had, one of the writers groups I’m in would gladly have brought me back down a size. Having critique partners is invaluable. Not only have I learned more about writing from them, but they’ve kept me grounded after making progress.
There is a kind of magic critique groups can wield. When you find a group that wants everyone to improve, whose members offer more than a casual read of your work, that’s golden. The best critique groups lift up writers who are struggling to find their voice, and share the tools to set them free.
Admittedly there is some terrible advice out there. Some writers have it all figured out, and anything that upsets their view cannot be tolerated. Others honestly believe every rule they learned should be followed every single time they write. Grammar trumps story for these folks, but they are pretty easy to spot. When you find them (especially if they are running the group) RUN!
I can’t stress enough, especially for new writers just starting out, find your tribe. There are people out there who want to hear you, who need to hear you. Those people will enrich your life as much as you will theirs, but you have to make your way out of the wilderness. You have to sort through the good and bad advice, learn the fundamentals, more than just mechanics. Then you’ll be able to reach the readers who need you.