I am a very independent person (at least I like to think so). In the past, I've been guilty of trying to write and illustrate in a vacuum. It just seems easier that way. But this past year, I've found my way into two critique groups. And now, I look forward to the groups and use them as deadlines to keep moving forward. The feedback and interaction has helped me to grow as a writer and illustrator.
A favorite piece of advice came from one of these groups. Probably lots of seasoned writers are familiar with this, but it was new to me: kill your babies. Any part of my writing that I love in a completely irrational way probably needs to go. It is hard. In fact, I had another name for a main character that I adored. It was perfect. It just HAD to be the name. But I couldn't figure out a way to spell it that would make it easily pronounceable. And thus, after a few weeks of mourning, I (sniff) let it go. I think this is important for illustration too. There are plenty of situations where I become attached to a sketch because of a cool perspective or fun detail and forget about the overall goal of the image. In the end, images (and words) need to tell the story first.