Whether you are a professional writer or someone who writes for the sheer pleasure of it as a personal creative outlet, be it for the pursuit of publication or simply to commit to paper your memoirs, I encourage you to find a community of fellow writers. If there is not a critique group that meets regularly in your area, then consider coordinating with your local library or college to create one. (If you do a google search on “form a writers’ group”, you’ll get pages worth of advice on the topic.) Other options include enrolling in a creative writing course or participating in a writers’ conference. Having your work critiqued by fellow colleagues is an essential element in honing your writing skills.
No, your mother does not count as an impartial editor. She knows you too well. She will almost always tell you that you’re brilliant even when you’re sorely lacking, and perhaps sometimes she will encourage you to cut out a character essential to the story simply because he reminds her too much of your Uncle Ned. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t share your work with family and friends. Take pride in the products of your creativity and put them out there for all to see… Just view the suggestions of those close to you with a critical eye.
The opportunity to exchange ideas with fellow writers and editors, be they authors of fiction or nonfiction, journalists, essayists, screen writers, or poets, is a useful tool in keeping writing fresh and getting into the habit of producing work on a regular basis. The gratification of receiving encouragement from someone whose writing you respect can serve as great inspiration to continue working on a project, and constructive criticism can push you to improve your writing technique and shape your own unique voice.