The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called "truth."
As much as this is true for teacher/student relationships, it is equally true for critique partners and beta readers and agents and editors and anyone who provides some form of valuable feedback or instruction regarding a writer's work.
Next time you feel pushed or tugged or poked after a critique, look for the "truth" behind it. That's how we inch ever closer to the dream.
What is your most recent experience with a "stick of truth"?