When it comes to creative writing, we writers can be pretty myopic. We see what we want to see in our writing, and it can be difficult to see the flaws, plot holes, mistakes, and shortcomings. After all, we've invested our very best effort into this creation, so it sucks to think that our "very best" comes up short. Which is why feedback from someone, anyone that isn't YOU is so important. They're not too close to the material, so they'll have no problem giving you their opinion on what they like or dislike, what works and what doesn't work. Critique groups, writing groups, beta reading groups, and any type of group that involves people reading and critiquing your work can be a HUGE asset in your creative writing. The more you get other people to see your work, the more you will be able to get reliable information on how to make steps to improve your work.Alpha and beta readers are such an important part of the novel-writing process. The Alpha reader goes over the book while it's still in the beginning stages, and they look at the story overall to find plot holes, inconsistencies with previous books, character inconsistencies, and so on. Once you have implemented their feedback, you bring the book to the beta readers, who focus more on the nitty gritty (grammar, structure, flow, etc.). By the time your book has gone through both sets of readers, it may be different from the book you originally wrote, but it's much better as a result. Writing groups can be one more addition to the creative writing process. By getting feedback and critiques on your work in its early stages, you can get a better understanding of what works and what doesn't. It doesn't matter whether you write short stories, full-length novels, poetry, or anything else--the more feedback you get from others, the better your work will eventually become. Note: Someone else's feedback isn't word of law. If they think you should change something and you don't agree, you don't have to do what they say. Writing groups like this is just one more way to get a better-rounded opinion on the work from others who aren't too close to the material. Where can you find writing groups in your area? I've found that Meet Up is a pretty good site to use, and you can find a lot of writing-related events in your city by doing a quick search. A Google Search for "writing groups in (your city/town)" can also yield results.