In your opinion, who makes a better editor/proofreader/critic? Do you often go to a spouse, a significant other, a family member, a friend, a colleague, a loose acquaintance, or are you stubborn enough to do it yourself until you're at a point when you're ready to send it off for final submission?
In my world, I tend to do it myself. Back in the day, I'd ask my mother to read some of my papers for school, but even then, it was just because I'd procrastinate on even getting started so there was not time to take a step away and come back to it with a fresh mind. Nowadays, I will toil on something, gutting and starting anew, and in the end, while I have some pride in my self-sufficiency, I'm left with self-doubt if my academic writing is improving at all over the years. Somedays, it's this feeling of what if I'm in a stagnant quagmire with editors who are too polite to tell me that my writing's lousy? How would I even know?
I guess what it all comes down to is the following. Do many writers and authors pass along a draft to another person not as much for a proofread, but for a semblance of reassurance that the idea is good, the plot is interesting, and the artistry is top-notch? If so, who makes the ideal reader/audience? Do you tend to rely on the same cheerleaders for you, or do you venture outside the group sometimes too? How do you find a truly honest reader versus a friend who feels like boosting your self-esteem more than being forthright?
Likewise, do you often reciprocate with read-throughs? I love reading others' drafts, but waver on ever asking anyone to look at mine. I'd love to hear your input as always. It might help me change my ways so I start becoming a more self-confident writer in my discipline.