I think that one of the most important things a writer can have is someone, they trust to read their work. I don't mean a fan, or a relative who loves you no matter what you do, or even a harsh critic who hates everything anyone does and is always sure that he/she can do it better...but never does. I mean a talented writer, who knows your work, what you are trying to say, and how you want to say it. It may not sound like a lot, but it really is a tall order. This person has to be able to give feedback based on the work that you wrote and not the novel they would've written. They have to be able to put aside personal taste, and feelings for subject matter and offer guidance that will help you, the writer, get to where they see, you are trying to go.
I am lucky, so incredibly lucky to have someone like this in my life...and a terrific agent and assistant who fit this bill too! As a result, I think that my manuscript, after 6 revisions, is pretty close to done. It is stronger and richer than it was when it started, and it is even longer too! Which is also nice, as it was a little on the short side. I have spent days and nights revising and this week, will polish, tweak, and polish some more, and then send to my fabulous agent with the hopes that they too, will love the changes.
Fingers and toes are crossed...eyes too, at this point! But that's from all the time on the computer!