The group critiquing process may be, and likely is, useful when one
is an art major or learning to write or draw.
Then you have to leave that nest and fly on your own. The whole
PURPOSE of workshops and critiquing should be to help you find your own
voice (for a writer) or your own eye and style (if an artist). It should
help you make the work more muscular, and less artificial...peeling away
the layers until just the individual stands there, saying *exactly* what
he wants to say. The group isn't there to make you write like the group,
or please the group; it's there as a means of finding your own voice.
Once you've found it, you have to walk away. Otherwise the whole
endeavor has been for nothing.
Back in college, I took two writing workshops led by Richard Kim, a
transplanted Korean novelist, very well regarded. I learned a *hell* of a
lot. I signed up for a third semester. Now, mind, I liked the class,
we liked each other, it was good. FIrst day of class, he looked out,s aw
me, and said, "Go. You've learned all you can learn. Don't take any more
workshops, from me or anybody else here. You have the tools, now find your
voice. If you stay here, you'll risk losing it." At the time, I felt
as though it were a rejection, but over time I began to understand what he
was talking about.