I've been spending a lot of time evaluating my writing situation these days, especially where critiques and feedback are concerned. I love my critique group, but to get an entire book critiqued, it would take over a year! We only do about ten pages per meeting, and we meet every other week. Assuming everyone can make it every week, that's 260 pages that will get looked over in a year. That's too long to wait to complete a book.
So I came to the conclusion today that I need a critique partner. Someone with whom I can swap pages on a regular basis. I can read their stuff and they can read mine, and we can call each other up and get "emergency" crits done in a pinch. If we're on a deadline, for example, and we only have a week or two to go over thirty or more pages, we can send or pages to each other and blast through them without having to wait for the next crit session.
I think one of the biggest differences between a crit group and a crit partner (at least as far what I'm looking for) is that, with critique GROUP, the members can be at pretty much any level in their career. Maybe they're trying their hand at writing for the first time, and they really need guidance from those of us who have been trying it for over a decade, or they've been working at it for a while, and they realize that they need to be reading other peoples' work to learn how to improve their own writing. Obviously, with a crit group, you get many eyes on your work, and that's always good.
But with a crit PARTNER, I think both of them should be in a similar place in their process. This way they're on the same page with their needs and goals. And the level of development at that point will help to better their chances at moving forward, rather than hinder either one of them. I definitely don't want to drag another writer down!
Anyway, that's what I've been thinking about lately, I'm just not sure how to go about finding a critique partner. I don't trust the forums anymore, so I'm thinking I'll have to get out and meet real people at one of the RMFW events. There are other options, of course, but most of the authors I know are in different places with different needs. I don't know how helpful I would be to most of them, and (not to be selfish but) I'm not sure if they would be as beneficial as I need them to be. I think I know one author who fits the bill, but that's something I'd have to talk with him about, if he's even interested.