For you writers out there, I can't over emphasize the importance of being in a peer critique group. Let me explain why. I have had seven attempts to get a novel off the ground, and nothing seemed to work. So I took the first chapter to one of my critique groups (South Carolina Writers Association- Greenville Chapter) and found out that the first chapter was good, but not the kind of chapter that draws the reader in. So I thought about it, realized they were right, and rewrote the first two chapters and now the novel is moving steadily forward. I will also be sharing those chapters with my other critique group, The Write Minds, that meets in our home.
So, if you are serious about writing, you need to do two things. One, read and read and read - everything. Two, write and get into a critique group. That does not necessarily mean you have to implement every bit of feedback you receive, because you might heartily disagree with a suggestion. Remember, you're the author and it's your book. But it's worthwhile to have a perspective other than yours to get you thinking in ways you haven't before. I hope this is helpful.