So needless to say, the presence of beta readers are as essential to the writing process as any other tools used to hone and polish a writer's individual craft. I've been so blessed to find a few who give me critical insight on how the story's moving along, what things seem confusing, what characters are likeable and why/why not, and just overall readability.
My number one beta is one of my very best friends. She is literally the one I email directly after I type in the last word. (see her awesomeness at @ashleighvegas) Not being a writer herself, she can provide a reader's POV on the elements I've already mentioned. I can't say how many times she's talked me off the ledge when I whine and cry about what a sub-par writer I am (translation: complaints about my total and utter suckage). But when I get a text or Twitter @reply with multiple exclamations and WORDS IN CAPS, I'm totally geared up and excited to write the next chapter.
I have various other betas who also help with the process and I can't help but think to be grateful for these "firsts" who are taking the time to read something that I've crafted in my perpetually jumbled brains.
Now, critique partners are not the same as beta readers. Beta's are mainly for reading, while CPs are there to tear that shit apart. LOL (more on CPs in Monday's post :D) But the input of a beta reader is not overshadowed because they are part of the audience that you are writing for. I'd like to say "I only write for myself.", but that seems a little selfish and not even a little true.
I write because I know no other way. I write because I need to tell a story. I write because I hope that someday, others will love my characters as much as I love them. And that love affair begins with those who take the leap of faith in these characters I've created and this world that I've built; those who help to shape the outcome of my writing path and for that, I am forever indebted. :)